Shiseido Company, Limited (Japanese: 株式会社資生堂, Hepburn: Kabushiki-gaisha Shiseidō, pronounced [ɕiseꜜːdoː]) is a Japanese multinational cosmetic company. Its product categories consist of: skin care, makeup, body care, hair care and fragrances. It is one of the oldest cosmetic companies in the world. Founded in 1872, the company celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2012.[3][4] It is the largest cosmetic firm in Japan and the fifth largest cosmetic company in the world.[5] In Japan, Shiseido is available at cosmetic counters at selected department stores and most pharmacies (also known as "drug stores" in Japan). The company owns numerous brands and subsidiaries worldwide, in addition to its founding label. The company is headquartered in Tokyo, and is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Shiseido Company, Limited
Native name
Kabushiki-gaisha Shiseidō
TypePublic (K.K.)
TYO: 4911
TOPIX Large 70 Component
IndustryConsumer goods
Founded1872; 149 years ago (1872)
Area served
Key people
Masahiko Uotani (President and CEO)[1]
RevenueIncrease ¥1.094 trillion (FY2018)[2]
Increase ¥61.403 billion (FY2018)
Number of employees
33,356 (2013)
SubsidiariesBare Escentuals
Beaute Prestige International
NARS Cosmetics
Shiseido Store in Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
Shiseido Collagen 3 types

Company HistoryEdit


Arinobu Fukuhara, former head pharmacist to the Imperial Japanese Navy, established the Shiseido Pharmacy in 1872. After a visit to the United States and Europe, Arinobu added a soda fountain to the store. This later grew into the Shiseido Parlor restaurant business, and eventually led to the introduction of ice cream in Japan. The name Shiseido derives from a Chinese expression meaning "praise the virtues of the earth which nurtures new life and brings forth significant values".[6][7][8]

Arinobu passed on his company to his son, Shinzo Fukuhara, who became the company's second president in 1913. After Shinzo's experience traveling to Europe and the United States, he became interested in advertising as a large selling point for Shiseido which lead him to dedicate extensive resources to the company's design, much of which can be seen from product packaging and magazines from this time.[9]


In 1917, Shiseido introduced Rainbow Face Powder. This was a face powder with seven colors in a period when white face powders were the norm in Japan.[10] In 1923, the company began expanding its store-base; it now[timeframe?] has approximately 25,000 outlets. A joint-stock company was formed in 1927.[citation needed]

Early 20th CenturyEdit

In 1916, Shiseido transitioned from using historical images of Japanese female beauty to more Western ideals of beauty. The more contemporary images showed women with hair swept up rather than cascading back and incorporated trendy art nouveau style block scripts.[9] This shift in imagery coincided with increasing Western influence in Japan, allowing Shiseido to capitalize on this cultural change.[9]

The Ginza district burned during the Kanto Earthquake of 1923. This incident and the great depression in the 1930s caused a decrease in sales of Shiseido. Shiseido partnered with stores to form the Shiseido Cosmetics Chain Store System. Therefore, consumers could rest assured that they could purchase Shiseido products at the same price at any store. In 1932, the representative Shiseido brand of top class cosmetic products of the time, De Luxe, was born. Following the outbreak of World War II, the De Luxe brand was considered an extravagance and production ceased.[11] However, it was re-launched in 1951 when the economy began to recover. Shiseido started to expand its cosmetics markets to the international market in the 1950s to 1980s.


In 2021, Shiseido sold its personal care business to a company held by British equity firm CVC Capital Partners, Shiseido also transferred all of its domestic personal care businesses to its Fine Today Shiseido subsidiary and was sold to CVC after the completion in July 2021.

World War IIEdit

Luxury OrdinancesEdit

A major concern in Japan during the Second World War was wasteful consumption of luxury products. This led to the imposition of luxury ordinances against goods explicitly tailored to luxury consumption. Due to these concerns, Shiseido emphasized the health benefits, high quality (leading to a maximization of efficacy) and patriotic national production of their cosmetic products. Since Shiseido did not want to tarnish their deluxe brand image their designs and advertisements contuned to incorporate highly stylized luxurious motifs. Despite an adherence to these motifs, Shiseido advertisements explicitly emphasized the utilitarian aspects of their products over their luxury, for instance toothpaste was endorsed for keeping teeth and gums healthy (rather than for making them beautifully white).[9]

Company magazinesEdit

The company began publishing company magazines in 1924 with Shiseido Monthly (Shiseido Geppo), which contained product advertisements and advice about cosmetics and fashion. Shiseido Monthly was replaced in 1933 with The Shiseido Graph (Shiseido Gurafu), and then renamed to Hanatsubaki in 1937.[12] Shiseido Monthly and The Shiseido Graph featured photographs by Shinzo Fukuhara, the company's second president and a well-known photographer.[9]

Shiseido's public relations magazines are aimed at “inspiring a life of beauty and culture,” following the company's stated corporate ideal.[12]

International expansionEdit

In 1957, Shiseido began sales in Taiwan, closely followed by Singapore and Hong Kong. In 1962, Shiseido expanded to Hawaii; in 1965, it established Shiseido Cosmetics America. European sales began with Italy in 1968 and Oceania with New Zealand in 1971.[13]

In 1985, Shiseido was the first company to produce sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid/hyaluronan) from non-animal origin sources.[14]

Finances and operationsEdit

In the first quarter of 2013, Shiseido made a profit of ¥2.66 billion (US$26.87 million) on sales of ¥162.36bn (US$1.64bn).[15] On 15 July 2013, Shiseido announced it was opening a wholly owned subsidiary in India.[16] On 20 February 2014, Shiseido agreed to sell its Carita and Decléor brands to L’Oréal for €227.5M (US$312.93M). This sale resulted in Shiseido showing profits despite running into losses.[17]


On January 18, 2017 Shiseido acquired digital tech company MatchCo.[18] To supplement MatchCo., Shiseido later acquired Giaran Inc., a data driven company, in November, 2017.[19] In January 2018, the company acquired all of the assets of Olivo Laboratories.[20]


Shiseido produces a line of cosmetics simply called "The Makeup" that provide a full range of products including: lip products, powder eye shadows, eye liner pencils, mascara, fluid and compact foundations, concealers, and powder blushes. Their hydro powder eye shadows which have a creamy texture are among Allure magazine's top beauty picks.[21]

Shiseido stepped into the world of cosmetics with the introduction of Eudermine in 1897, and established the Cosmetics Division and a store selling cosmetics in 1916. With the birth of new cosmetics, the definition of makeup started to alter in the 1920s. The cosmetics were not used exclusively by women. Men started to use makeup to rebuild their image. Shiseido's scented hair tonics were among their most popular early cosmetics for both men and women, fueled by a reaction to Western distaste for less fragrant traditional hair oil products.[9] Shiseido also began to produce floral perfumes which contributed to the brand's "De Luxe" and "rich” aesthetic.[9]

Meanwhile, modern beauty methods became a popular beauty topic in advertisements, newspaper columns and magazines in the late 1920s to early 1930s. At that time, cosmetic consumers focused on the selection of the makeup and their uses. The single makeup method of painting the face white was considered outdated.[22] The beauty consumers liked to apply up to seven different colors of face powder including ‘’ white, yellow, flesh, rose, peony, green and purple’’ to match their skin tone.[23] In order to explore more potential consumers, Shiseido trained beauty advisers, who demonstrated and illustrated the uses of the cosmetics on the on-site demonstration briefing.


Shiseido invested heavily in the packaging of its products. One of the company's most popular products was Eudermine, a scented skin toner. Eudermine translates to "good skin" in Ancient Greek.[24] The product was sold in a liquid form and came in a vibrant shade of red, meant to resemble the color of wine, evoking prosperity and vitality. The glass bottle was small and came wrapped with a red ribbon around the neck. Eudermine was advertised as a barrier that would prevent sweat and make one "smell like an angel,".[24] Additionally, it was advertised as a way to prevent damage from the poisonous lead in makeup powders. In the general advertising of Shiseido bottled products, bottles were often presented individually, or sometimes in groups. The sensuality of the bottles was influenced by the product arrangement.[24]

Shiseido also produced a line of five different skin creams designed for cleansing and softening the skin. As well as being associated with health and beauty, the cream containers themselves were considered visually appealing and often used as an accessory on a woman's dressing table.

Recycling in WartimeEdit

During World War II, Shiseido made moves to join the war effort by spearheading a campaign to recycle its product containers. In an attempt to conserve important materials, Shiseido's production switched from glass containers to ceramics, cardboard, and aluminum based on the individual products they were selling.[9]

Animal testingEdit

In 2017, Shiseido's subsidiary company, NARS Cosmetics, announced it was going to start testing their products on animals. In defense of its decision, the company stated "We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. Nars does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law".[25]


  1. ^ Weil, Jennifer (24 December 2013). "Shiseido Names New President and CEO". WWD. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Shiseido Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018".
  3. ^ SHISEIDO Frequently Asked Questions - SHISEIDO USA - FAQ 1.
  4. ^ Five Good-Looking Cosmetic Stocks - Seeking Alpha
  5. ^ Japan's Shiseido Agrees to Acquire Bare Escentuals -
  6. ^ "Shiseido Company, Limited - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Shiseido Company, Limited". Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  7. ^ Ltd., Shiseido Co. "The origin of the name "Shiseido" | History of Shiseido | About Us | Shiseido group website". Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  8. ^ COSMETICS - Shiseido - VEPA GROUP Archived 2009-04-12 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "MIT Visualizing Cultures". Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  10. ^ About Shiseido - BANBATSU SHISEI (The Origins) Archived 2009-12-18 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Gale, Group (2013). Encyclopedia of global brands. Detroit: St. James Press. pp. 960–964. ISBN 978-1558628540.
  12. ^ a b Ltd, Shiseido Co. "Corporate Culture Magazine "Hanatsubaki" | Beauty / Art | Sustainability | Shiseido Company". Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  13. ^ History. Shiseido Group.
  14. ^ SHISEIDO Sodium Hyaluronate :History -
  15. ^ Wetherille, Kelly (July 31, 2013). "Shiseido Swings to Black in Q1". WWD. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  16. ^ Wetherille, Kelly (July 19, 2013). "Shiseido Sets Subsidiary in India". WWD. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  17. ^ Kaiser, Amanda (19 February 2014). "Shiseido Sells Carita, Decléor to L'Oréal". WWD. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  18. ^ "bareMinerals launches an app with MatchCo technology". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  19. ^ "Shiseido Americas Acquires Giaran, Inc. -". 2017-11-13. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  20. ^ "Shiseido acquires "Second Skin" technology from Olivo Laboratories". Premium Beauty News. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  21. ^ Allure Best of Beauty 2008 -
  22. ^ 和田博文, 廖怡錚 (2017). 資生堂的文化裝置: 引發時尚革命的美學教主. 臺北: 蔚藍文化出版股份有限公司. pp. 159, 250–256. ISBN 9789869440325.
  23. ^ Ltd, Shiseido Co. "History | History of Shiseido | About Us | Shiseido group website". Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  24. ^ a b c "MIT Visualizing Cultures". Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  25. ^ "Nars make-up boycotted, after cosmetics tested on animals in China". BBC. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.


External linksEdit