Smell Harassment

In recent years, the term "smell harassment," often abbreviated to sumehara スメハラ, has become the subject of greater scrutiny in Japan. 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. Smell harassment is also used to describe the usage of perfumes and colognes. 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.

Whereas drugstores and convenience stores only carried a few brands of deodorant spray and body wash ten years ago, they now carry a variety of odor-fighting sprays to be applied directly on clothes, deodorant body wipes, special deodorant body washes, shampoos, lotions, even sweat-absorbing padding, indicating an increase in public awareness and concern with smell and hygiene.

Tanita's Smell Checker ES-100

Since 1999, Tanita has sold breath checkers and alcohol level checkers based on a semiconductor gas sensor. Based on this knowledge developed through years of experience, and in reaction to the recent public awareness of "smell harassment," Tanita developed a compact device sensitive enough to identify not only sweat and other odors emanating from the human body but also artificial scents such as perfumes which can be overpowering, and determine their intensity on a scale of 0 to 10.

In case you were wondering, level 0-3 means the smell is not noticeable, levels 4-6 means the smell is noticeable, and levels 7-10 means it's very noticeable (in other words, "sumehara alert!").

The ES-100 is a compact device 94 mm long, 52 mm high, 25 mm wide, and weighing a mere 60 grams. It can be used over 2,000 times, or about one year, before the sensor cartridge (sold separately) needs to be replaced.

The ES-100 will go on sale at Tanita's online shop from July 1st, 2018, for 13,824 JPY but should also be available at other retailers and electronic appliance stores.

By - Ben K.