My first post for Shiseido Week was supposed to be about the eyelash curler, but I found some very interesting tidbits while I was researching the origins of the brand. So here's a little history lesson on Shiseido, something that I hope you'll find as fascinating as I did!
Did you know that Shiseido is credited to be the oldest cosmetics company in the world? It's actualy 141 years old this year! It was founded in 1872 by a pharmacist of the Japanese Imperial Navy. Arinobu Fukuhara was the first person who established a Westen-style pharmacy in Japan, complete with a soda fountain and eventually an ice cream parlor.
He started selling indigestion lozenges, beriberi pills, and soft toothpaste in the beginning. These were revolutionary products at that time, because Japan was only familiar with herbal medicine and tooth powder before Mr Fukuhara set up Shiseido.
Image from twinvulcan.com
Shiseido is not just a pharmacy and eventually one of the leading cosmetics brands in the world. According to an MIT paper, "Shiseido’s innovative product and promotional production tells a distinctive story about Japan’s experience of modernity, including the impact on national culture of mass market consumerism, urbanization, and changing gender roles." It was also a pioneer in advertising design and product marketing at that time.
It played a huge role in defining comopolitan glamour for young women in Japan, bringing in Western imagery to one of the most traditional cultures in Asia on the cusp of a new, uncertain century.