Japanese Makeup Culture

Begin Japanology is another show that I watch on NHK World, it is hosted by Peter Barakan. Begin Japanology, as stated on their website “explores many aspects of Japan, both traditional and contemporary: arts, sports, entertainment, food, technology, nature, etc. ”

This entry coincides with my previous post about Japanese skin care. To read my previous post and to watch the video from it’s companion program Japanology Plus, click here.

I stumbled upon this Youtube video right about the same time I saw Japanology Plus episode entitled “Quest for perfect Skin“.

This episode does not talk about Japanese cosmetics products, instead this episode from Begin Japanology talks about makeup in Japan : it’s history, its evolution and its social impact.

I found this episode to be very enlightening. As I have stated before, I am inspired by Japanese makeup culture.

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Some key points of interest from this episode:

Lashes are a big thing is Japan. It’s true. I’ve seen it.

White black and red were the only colors used by women during the Japanese golden age. A color palette which is still used today.

As shown at the 9:45 minute mark, nose contouring has been in use since 1813 and there was even a makeup manual then. 3 volumes of makeup tricks!

Japanese women during the late 18th and early 19th centuries had found ways of making their makeup portable.

Nars Cosmetics Bento Box
Nars Cosmetics Bento Box

At the 13:06 minute mark, Peter Barakan is talking to Japanese Makeup Culture historian Takako Murata. They talk about how cosmetics were packaged and used during the 18th century. The light went “on” when Takako was discussing the fact that rouge was poured into a bowl and was turned up side down after use to keep the rouge from spoiling.

Years ago (circa 2010), Nars Cosmetics launched an extremely limited edition lip palette called “Bento Box “. Clearly inspired from traditional Japanese makeup, this palette had two small bowls of different shades of lip colors (Sakura [pink] and Maiko [red]). This set came with a kabuki lip brush.

Kabuki Brush Set bought in Tokyo
Kabuki Brush Set bought in Tokyo

Speaking of brushes, at the 16:58 minute mark, the episode starts to discuss the art of making makeup brushes. I can not believe one town supplies 80% of Japan’s brushes. I am not surprised though that many international cosmetics companies order their brushes from this Japanese company. I was quite surprised though to see in passing that some of my favorite makeup brushes to use were actually made there. I might have to visit Kumano in Hiroshima Prefecture one day to see the factory for my self.

The man featured here is Kazuo Takamoto, president of the premier brush company “Hakuhodo“.

I have managed to find an article about Kumano being the brush capital of Japan, you might enjoy this short reading here.

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To learn more and to be inspired by Japanese makeup culture, enjoy the video below.

 

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