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IFF Names Seventh Master Perfumer: Shoji Kumasaka

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Shoji Kimasaka (via IFF's Instagram @iffinc)

International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. has named its seventh Master Perfumer: Shoji Kumasaka, who is a nearly 50-year IFF veteran with a storied career of success within hair care and personal care and wins that span the globe.

Related: IFF Names Sixth Master Perfumer: Franc Schiet

The designation recognizes perfumers who have demonstrated consistent and outstanding levels of creativity and craftsmanship in the art of perfumery, and exceptional leadership in and measurable impact on the industry.

Related: IFF Names Anne Flipo Master Perfumer

Born in Fukushima, Japan, Kumasaka was influenced at an early age by ancient Japanese literature. As a teenager, he read Tale of the Genji, written in the early 11th century. He became fascinated with the descriptions of how the aristocracy loved the smell of burning incense and his lifelong passion for scent began.

After college, he joined a Japanese fragrance house, starting his basic training in perfumery. In 1971, he joined IFF and studied with the company’s legendary perfumer, Ernest Shiftan, before returning to Japan and focusing on hair care and personal wash.

“Kumasaka-san embodies everything that is wonderful about IFF,” IFF chairman and CEO Andreas Fibig said. “His commitment to his art, delivering beautiful fragrances to consumers all over the world and sharing his knowledge with the next generation of perfumers are just some of the reasons he is treasured at IFF. And at a time of such uncertainty, it is a genuine pleasure to celebrate something so enduring.”

“I have worked for IFF for 49 years,” Kumasaka said. “In that time, I have been so lucky to work at a job that I have loved for my whole life. I have been fortunate enough to train with Shiftan, my great mentor and benefactor. I have been able to travel and work globally, meet so many wonderful colleagues and share what I have learned with young perfumers. When people ask me my philosophy of perfumery, I tell them what has guided me all my life: simple is best.”

“For nearly 50 years, Kumasaka-san has learned and shared great wisdom that benefits everyone in his sphere,” Nicolas Mirzayantz, IFF divisional CEO, scent, said. “As one of Shiftan’s apprentices, he is part of the storied continuum of passion and creativity that has been part of IFF from the start. His creations over the course of his career are part of the olfactive tapestry of consumers around the world. And his mentees will shepherd this knowledge and wisdom well into the future. I am so proud to count Kumasaka-san as one of IFF’s Master Perfumers!”