Kiseru (煙管) is a Japanese smoking pipe traditionally used for smoking a small serving (about 25 mg) of kizami, a finely shredded tobacco product resembling hair.
Many kiseru have been engraved with elaborate details by skilled artisans and were a status symbol for the owner, this Kiseru is a good example of this style, showing a koi carp under a pine tree.
Tobacco has been known in Japan since the 1570s at the earliest. By the early 17th century, kiseru had become popular enough to even be mentioned in some Buddhist textbooks for children. The kiseru evolved along with the equipment and use of incense associated with the Japanese incense ceremony :Kono
- The kō-bon, an incense tray, became the tabako-bon, a tobacco tray
- the incense burner evolved into a charcoal fire pot for lighting tobacco with hot air
- The incense pot became a jar to contain the ash.
During a smoking session, the smoker would put a ball of stringy kizami tobacco in the bowl, light it at the charcoal fire, then dump the ash into the ash container.