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The History of Shiseido

If you’re a regular Cityline viewer or follower my twitter contests and stories, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the Shiseido brand. Not as well-known as say Clinique or Estée Lauder in North America or Europe, Shiseido is in fact, the fourth largest cosmetics company in the world. It is renowned for its quality and science throughout Asia, boasting dozens of research and development centers and labs. Many top hotel chains in Asia proudly offer Shiseido toiletries in their deluxe rooms as a sign of ultimate quality and respect for their guests.

The reason Shiseido flies under the beauty radar is due to its rich Japanese history. It is considered in bad taste to be boastful or talk about oneself too much in Japan. So Shiseido tends to whisper in its ads and politely smile when you walk past its department store counters. Sadly, many of its innovations and skincare advances get lost in the competitive beauty marketing environment in the Western World. Other brands are much more aggressive in their advertising.

Shiseido began in 1872 as a Western-style pharmacy in the heart of Tokyo. It quickly became known for its cosmetic technology and commitment to high-quality ingredients. Trained beauty professionals would take the time to counsel customers not only on the best products for their skin, but the techniques to get the best results from the formulas.

See the gallery and timeline below for some highlights of Shiseido’s history:

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Here’s a little insider timeline to showcase some of Shiseido’s rich history and cosmetic breakthroughs.

  • 1872: Arinobu Fukuhara establishes Japan’s first Western-style pharmacy in Ginza, Tokyo
  • 1888: Shiseido introduces Fukuhara Sanitary Toothpaste
  • 1897: Enters the cosmetic arena with Eudermine, a softening lotion that delivers immediate moisture and improves your skin’s own moisturizing power. It remains a best-seller today.
  • 1915: Sets “Hanatsubaki” (Camellia) as the company trademark
  • 1916: Opens a cosmetics shop at 11 Takekawa-cho (now Ginza 7-chrome). Unveils a design department and testing room.
  • 1917: Introduces Seven Colours Face Powder
  • 1918: Launches a cold cream product.
  • 1923: Begins building a network of chain stores for Shiseido cosmetics.
  • 1927: Changes limited partnership to joint-stock company Shiseido Co., Ltd; Shinzo Fukuhara becomes becomes the first president
  • 1931: Exports Rose Cosmetics to Southeast Asian countries; starts a full-fledged international business
  • 1932: Releases De Luxe
  • 1934: Miss Shiseido promotional campaign begins
  • 1937: Inaugurates the Camellia Club and commemorative gift program (runs through 2003)
  • 1937: Develops new Shiseido-style facial treatment and specialty products
  • 1939: The Shiseido research and development lab is completed in Japan
  • 1949: The company is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange
  • 1953: Establishes Shiseido Institute of Beauty Sciences
  • 1956: Opens Shiseido Beauty Salon in Shibuya, Tokyo
  • 1961: Conducts first ever makeup campaign “Candy Tone”
  • 1962: Establishes Shiseido of Hawaii, the company’s first overseas investment
  • 1963: Begins selling its products in Italy, its first export to Europe
  • 1965: Shiseido Cosmetics America Ltd is established.
  • 1966: Conducts “Beloved by the Sun” campaign and the first overseas shoot in Hawaii
  • 1968: Opens the Shiseido Research Labs in Yokohama (renamed Shiseido Research Center in 2000)
  • 1975: Launches “Shiseido – The Ginza”
  • 1984: Starts the commercial production of the exclusive ingredient “bio-hyaluronic acid”
  • 1985: Hosts “The Art of Beauty” Exhibition in New York City chronicling 113 years of Shiseido advertising
  • 1989: Collaborates with Harvard University to establish the world’s first dermatological research center
  • 1995: Establishes Shiseido International
  • 1997: Marks the 100th anniversary of Eudermine
  • 2000: Builds a new ultra high-tech research center
  • 2004: Sponsors “Global Beauty Consultant Competition” to identify the best beauty experts in the world
  • 2005: Unveils new corporate message: “This moment. This life. Beautifully.”
  • 2007: Celebrity makeup artist Dick Page signs on a Creative Director of Makeup. He’s worked with Kate Moss, Bjork, Emma Stone, Marc Jacobs and Karlie Kloss.
  • 2006: Opens the “Life Quality Beauty Centre” Therapy Makeup Institute
  • 2011: Opens a spectacular new flagship store “Shiseido The Ginza”
  • 2015: Signs a multi-year partnership with the Canadian Synchronized Swimming Team
  • 2015: Launches the first sunscreen that gets stronger when wet.

53 Comments

  • Reply
    Trinh Q.
    April 4, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Very Impressive with Shiseido’s history and info. I admire her ambition.
    @soleilfaerie

  • Reply
    julia christoforidou
    April 4, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Very informative review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    KATHARINE COOKMAN
    April 3, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    YA’ ALL KEEP GETTIN’ BETTER~BETTER ? ? ??? In The ☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️ With The ✨✨✨✨✨ ALL ROUND YOU

  • Reply
    cynthia knisely
    April 2, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Very informative review. Learned a little bit about Japanese culture. @cynderma

  • Reply
    Imanah
    April 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    @iveirra thank you for this information, wish i could have a flawless skin

  • Reply
    Anna f.
    April 2, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Wow!!! Very interesting!! @an_na_f

  • Reply
    Ioanna
    April 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    I wish I had the flawless skin Japanese women have

  • Reply
    Ioanna
    April 1, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I knew it I hate Japanese women for their flawless skin.-

  • Reply
    KATHARINE COOKMAN
    April 1, 2016 at 11:42 am

    OH HOW TIME FLYS :}

  • Reply
    MyBookJacket
    March 31, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    This is one of the brands every dermatologist I know stands by. (Others are Clarins and l’occitan) and while it is ridiculously expensive here it is totally worth the money. Everything shiseido is perfect. They have, I hear, a pretty great drugstore collection in Japan as well. How great is that.

  • Reply
    Anamaria Jerkovic
    March 31, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    wow! this is so interested and new knowledge i am learning about the history

  • Reply
    Xaidw
    March 31, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Intresting informatios @DimitrisXaidw

  • Reply
    Lady_Ingenue
    March 31, 2016 at 11:54 am

    What a history! Love the early illustrations 🙂

  • Reply
    Miroslava Bogdanović
    March 31, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Very interesting informative 🙂
    @86Malecko

  • Reply
    Amena akter Dana
    March 31, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Beautiful article. Awesome history @Dana60339031

  • Reply
    Diana Abril
    March 31, 2016 at 7:26 am

    @natalialopez0210 Nata, did you know about this?…we need to go get those cards at the bay and try out sheseido Eeeeeee

  • Reply
    Sylvia Reddom
    March 30, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Wow what an historian you are becoming there Dave!! Thanks so much for educating us all so well and on such fine products too. SReddom @TGrl2010

  • Reply
    Jo price
    March 30, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Great article – appreciate all the effort that goes into producing this article. Very informative @joanneprice6

  • Reply
    Kristi Price
    March 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    I always love your articles, I learn so much, thank you! Imagine, a sunscreen that gets stronger when wet..that is really cool. Thanks for the giveaway! @jessilynne xoxo

  • Reply
    Vickie Hite
    March 30, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Truly interesting history, would Love to try their products!

  • Reply
    saira munro
    March 30, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Wow very impressive i didnt know half of this .@bubblebabe38

  • Reply
    Margaret
    March 30, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Thanks for sharing! Very interesting

  • Reply
    Carol L
    March 30, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Amazing. I didn’t realize the company has been around so long. I absolutely love their products. Especially their perfumes.
    Than you for the interesting post.
    Carol L

  • Reply
    Dawn Pettipas Paleologos
    March 30, 2016 at 8:33 am

    What an amazing history! And to be the first to create a sunscreen formula that gets stronger when wet? Genius!!

  • Reply
    Meenal Rathore
    March 30, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Intresting and informative … @Meenal_Rathore

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