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Men's shirts get fragrant

A Japanese company has come up with an innovative way of making sure any man can come up smelling of roses at the end of a hard day at the office - a shirt that can release a pleasant smell.

Osaka-based Yamaki Co. Ltd. has started selling a range of shirts called Otoko Kaoru, meaning "good-smelling man." The shirts come in a range of colors and cost Y3,045 (€26.77), but their real attraction lies in the odor that they give off from their collars when they are rubbed or gently squeezed.

The shirt manufacturer has been working with chewing gum company Kracie, which attracted a great deal of attention in 2006 when it developed a gum with a rose and menthol flavor that was absorbed through the sides of the mouth and stomach. After a short while, according to Kracie, the user's skin gave off the same smell.

The limited-edition gum proved hugely popular and Kracie then decided to work with Yamaki. Microscopic capsules of rose scent are embedded in the fabric of the collar of the shirt during the manufacturing process and, when they are put under pressure they burst and release the fragrance in the form of a liquid that evaporates.

Hideki Kamata, a spokesman for Yamaki, said the shirts are selling well because the scent is subtle rather than powerful. The company has plans to expand the lineup and start manufacturing sweaters and pyjamas that also smell sweet.

There are also hopes that the scented garments will catch on in overseas markets.

Japanese are very particular when it comes to scents and smells and still do not have a tradition of using perfumes and deodourants. The need for pleasant artificial smells emerged in Europe in the 16th century in unsanitary cities where people did not bathe very often. Japanese, on the other hand, have always been fond of time in the tub.

Nevertheless, the rigors of modern life - including long hours in stuffy offices, the sultry summer and commutes during which everyone is required to share their bodily odors - has triggered an increase in deodorizing shirts, shoes, underwear, socks and even suits.

The olfactory sense has recently been getting attention in the clothing industry with several designers integrating scent into their fashions, the latest example being Meadham Kirchoff who plan to perfume the models, clothes and venue of their upcoming presentation.