It’s undeniable that Japan has swept the world with high-quality makeup brushes. When it comes to marrying quality and functionality, the Japanese have long been known to set the standard in various industries through the use of innovative technology and classic East Asian philosophies. While Asian beauty mainly focuses on the skin — as the foundation upon which you build your look — makeup products are not far behind. We have brands like Shiseido and Shu Uemura that have managed to expand their clientele beyond Japan. This global demand is very telling of how good Asian makeup products really are.
Kumano and its takumi
Japan has gained the reputation of being the brush capital of the world, but within the country, it is specifically the town of Kumano in Hiroshima that is known as the brush capital of Japan. The town has a long history of being a producer of calligraphy brushes, dating all the way back to the 18th century. This expertise lent itself to the craftmanship behind most Japanese makeup brushes. In fact, brands like Shiseido and Shu Uemura trust artisans in Kumano to make world-class makeup brushes.
Behind the creation of beautiful makeup brushes are the takumi: artisans who handcraft each brush to perfection. In the expert hands of these artisans, each brush is individually made to guarantee that it will meet the standard quality of Japanese makeup brushes.
According to Jaclyn Cayetano, Shiseido Philippines’ Training Manager, approximately 1,500 takumi work on producing the brushes for Shiseido Ginza Tokyo. Altogether, they produce about 15 million brushes yearly.
That's a lot of brushes that takes a lot of practice to master: “no less than 60,000 hours of practice on the craft,” to be exact. This level of precision and experience, according to Jacyln, allows Shiseido to keep its high quality intact throughout the years.