top of page
  • Shelley Dark

The sound of purity

I love it when you're planning something, don't you, and the signs all seem to line up?

Sounds a bit spooky but do you know what I mean?

When you decide to do something, and suddenly your diary magically becomes clear for that day/week/year, an associated name keeps appearing in unassociated places, an authority on the subject suddenly turns up in your soup.

Lately my mind has been crazy-full with ideas. So many thoughts jumbling for precedence that it's making me giddy. So many ideas to choose from, prioritise. What order to do things in? What ideas to jettison.

a phrenology chart 1883

What to feel!

Which made yesterday all the more surprising. In the form of a very thoughtful Christmas gift from a friend.

This was it. Wrapped beautifully with grey silk ribbon. My colour.

And in a beautifully made grey box too! Perfect.

But what was it?


Can you guess? Probably not.

Put simply, it's a Japanese mind clearer! An orin. A little bell which makes the most beautifully clear ringing sound, like a prayer bowl. It's a relaxing sound that can last up to a minute, even when tinkled softly.

Certain sounds not only enhance creativity, they are thought to be the stuff of creation itself. They're in tune with the natural rhythm of the universe.

Kyujo Orin sounds have a '1/f fluctuation' which induces alpha brain waves that generate a feeling of comfort. Analysis by the Japan Acoustic Lab has even shown that the flow of alpha waves have a healing effect on the brain.

Each orin is tuned to a special note, between light and deep, near and far, mellow and vivid, mellow and elegant.

The manufacturer, Namguchi Kyujo, says:

Orin’s sound is remarkable. When it is used for praying, it resonates in supreme tones yet there is warmth in its chimes that surround you like a guardian angel. Orin’s ringing, said to chase away bad vibes and purify the place will put your mind in order.

Orin's sound is clear, without colour, and varied, even with the same shape. Polished and always genuine, Orin resonates in different tones for different people.

Embracing a feeling which cannot be described in words, sinking deep and echoing far into infinity… That is the sound of Kyujo Orin, each note created with care in hopes of reaching the hearts of many people.

Takaoka city in the Toyama prefecture of Japan is known for the production of cast metal, specialising in items for Buddhist rites. It's also known for monozukuri ものづくり, or fine craftsmanship. But where our word craftsmanship implicates the skill of the maker, the Japanese focus more on the excellence of the object created.

The Yamaguchi Kyujo company was founded in 1907 and although they still make traditional Buddhist objects, the current president, Mr. Toshio Yamaguchi has been developing this new style of Orin (a type of bell) beyond their ritual function, for use in the daily life of younger generations.

The orin manufacturing process is rigorous, each step performed by highly trained craftsmen. First the metal is moulded at very high temperatures. Then the orin is shaved to the desired form, carefully polished and engraved. Lastly, the bell is assembled and fine tuned.

This model was made of palladium-coated copper alloy, and suspended on its spring is a striker of genuine hematite stone.

Words from the Japanese aesthetic vocabulary come to mind. Shibui: simple, subtle, unobtrusive, minimalist and even austere beauty. Miyabi, or a refined elegance. Seijaku, a tranquility leading to creative energy.

When I move the orin slightly, the striker hits the interior of the bell's void, and the most beautiful clear notes ring out, continue to ring, softening, becoming even purer, vibrating as the sound slowly dies away till I'm not sure if I'm still hearing it or not. It induces a silence in me.

It's just what I needed. What a lovely friend!

Hope you find your own inner silence over the holiday break buddies, and may you have a wonderfully peaceful and happy Christmas.

Until then, I wait you.....

shelley dark, writer 

bottom of page