If nothing else over the last year or so we have become used to being tested and enduring an anxious wait for the results to arrive. In Japan offensive body odours seem to be causing a stir amongst workers, many complaining of “smell harassment”. So prevalent is the problem that it is causing a high degree of anxiety amongst the country’s workers, fearful that they may be causing a bit of a stink in the workplace.
Where there is a problem, there is always someone who can sniff out an opportunity and this is where entrepreneur Shota Ishida comes in. He has set up a company called Odorate which offers a scientific analysis to determine whether the client is actually emitting an offensive odour.
For a fee of $150 they are sent a plain white T-shirt impregnated with odour-activated charcoal which they wear for 24 hours and send back to Ishida’s laboratory north of Tokyo. The garment is then analysed using GC-MS technology – sounds impressive, but me neither – and the results are produced. Given there is no commonly accepted metric for the level and type of smell, Ishida will use terms like “onions starting to rot” or “an old-age smell”.
Apparently, over a thousand people have used his service and around half have received the all-clear. To protect himself from the odour, he limits himself to analysing six shirts a session. However, so promising I the business that Ishida is planning to branch out into armpit-only and a halitosis-specific testing.
As a business plan it is not to be sniffed t, but I can’t help thinking that it is a problem that a double application of a deodorant would cure.