Japanese Cosmetics and Depictions of Beauty
Japan’s Modern Beauty
The Meiji period (1868–1912) imperative to adopt European systems in a wide range of fields, including government and politics, economy, and culture also affected the daily life of women in Japan, influencing their modes of make-up and ideas of beauty, fashion, and hairstyle. Edo period (1603–1868) make-up conventions gradually disappeared as new Western practices and cosmetic products and utensils entered Japan. Modern hairstyles and make-up, and emphasis on individuality, surged with the advancement of women during the Taisho period (1912–1926).
This exhibition, introducing the Pola Research Institute of Beauty and Culture’s collection of Japanese cosmetic utensils and magazines dating from the late Edo period through the Showa period (1926–1989), traces the progression and transition of the modern Japanese woman’s aesthetic sense. The image of the ideal woman at the time is further corraborated by selected paintings from the Pola Museum of Art, and the role of Okada Saburosuke (1869–1939), designer of women’s magazine covers and department store posters, in the creation of the ‘modern beauty’ image is explored.
We hope the exhibition will illuminate lifestyle transitions of stylish Japanese women in an emerging new age.