Japanese men invest in their looks

Japan's cosmetics companies are devoting more of their efforts to producing lines for male consumers as increasing numbers of men worry about the way they look.

The new trend is more than Japanese men discovering their "metrosexual" side, according to analysts, and suggests that old-style masculinity is no longer cool here. "Men are becoming a lot more interested in making themselves beautiful, and they are buying cosmetics, paying attention to their hair and overall grooming," said Shigesato Kobayashi, a spokesman for cosmetics giant Shiseido Co.

That attention to detail extends to a boom in "esthetic salons" that cater exclusively to male clients.  The largest chain in Japan -- Tokyo Beauty Center -- is promoted by none other than Hidetoshi Nakata, the former darling of Japanese soccer.

In 2002, Nivea-Kao Co. was the first Japan-based company to market a skincare product for men, followed by Shiseido in 2004 and Rohto Pharmaceutical in 2006. Sales of men's skin care cosmetics came to Y17.6 billion (€130 million) in 2008, up an impressive 16.9 percent from the previous year.

According to a survey by Mandom Corp., another of the major Japanese cosmetics houses, more than 59 percent of Japanese men now use facial wash, up from 48.8 percent in 2005. Among university students, the 2009 figure soared to over 85 percent.

Cosmetics firms have responded with new products, including beauty essence, milky lotions and cream preparations. Department stores across the country now have counters staffed by skin counsellors who are advising men on how to best take care of their faces. They are telling men that as their skin contains more oil and less moisture than female skin, they need to wash frequently and use moisturizing products regularly.

The fastest growing sector is the mass market, according to Shiseido's Kobayashi.
"This market is moving really fast for companies such as Oxy and Mandom, but the prestige sector is faring quite well still as well," he said.

"In Japanese society, it has become normal for men to buy products that used to be considered feminine and when the economy recovers we believe we will see even more men investing in the way they look," he added.


Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before