In recent years, Japanese people have become increasingly concerned with sumehara. Neither a desert in Africa nor an island in Indonesia, sumehara or スメハラ in Japanese, is in fact the abbreviation for "smell harassment." While it is usually used in a workplace environment, it is also discussed in the context of public transportation where people are frequently forced to be in close proximity to others. Unlike other forms of harassment that are volitional such as sexual harassment, age harassment and maternity harassment, smell harassment is often involuntary, and sometimes the result of medical conditions. Nevertheless, whereas unwelcome body smells were previously considered a mere inconvenience, the mood in corporate Japan seems to be shifting towards taking personal responsibility for the matter.

As a result, new products and commercial campaigns reflecting this heightened awareness of body odor have emerged. We've already seen how male styling, beauty and hygiene product maker Mandom Corp. has taken bold measures such as casting seven distinct types of body odor as seven handsome anime boys, and using popular Virtual Youtuber Kizuna AI to conduct street interviews testing a new deodorant.

Another product which capitalizes on this trend is last year's Smell Checker ES-100, a portable odor sensor sold by Tanita Corporation.

Odorate: A comprehensive solution to scan and rate body odor

While the ES-100 has the advantage of providing a simple number from 0 to 10 alerting you to the strength of an odor, as well as the convenience of having real-time data in a portable format, it doesn't provide a detailed analysis nor does it offer any suggestions for improvement.

Those who are looking for a more comprehensive solution can now turn to a new service called Odorate.

After a very successful crowdfunding campaign which reached over 500% of its initial goal, Odorate is now available to the general public.

But what exactly is Odorate?

A clever portmanteau of "odor" and "rate," Odorate is both the name of a company and a service which scans the chemical composition of your body odor, where it comes from and, if needed, offers customized advice on measures you can take to address it. If this sounds like an uncomfortable and time-consuming process requiring a visit to a laboratory, think again. Odorate takes the form of a by-mail kit, which includes a white T-shirt, a special patch which collects odors, and double-sided tape to attach the patch to the inside of the T-shirt. All you need to do is wear the T-shirt for a day, send it back to the company, and within a month, you'll receive a PDF file with a full report.

Moreover, for privacy, they eschew all company-specific packaging and send you the kit in a standard express mail envelope which will not reveal to any others who may see it what the contents may be.

Odorate combines machine-driven analysis through specialized laboratory equipment with human assessors to identify the areas where your body odor is the strongest, the chemical composition of your body odor and the impression it makes on others. Whether it's sweat, armpit odor or "old-age smell" (due to a substance called 2-nonenal), or any other kind of body odor, Odorate will identify it. In addition to these results, the reports include an order-made care guide with suggestions and recommendations for inexpensive and easy-to-follow odor-fighting measures, including commercially available products.


  • Service name: Odorate
  • Price: 15,000 JPY
  • On sale from: July 31st, 10:00 AM (JST)
  • First delivery from: August 7th, 2019
  • To order: Odorate
  • (Note: Delivery is only available to addresses within Japan)

By - Ben K.