Japan Research Trip – Collated Research: Shiseido

Below shows a range of primary research which has been collated from my research trip to Tokyo, Japan.

The Shiseido Magazine was brought to my attention whilst talking with Toni Hollowood, and was unable to source one at Shiseido stockists in the UK. Whilst at the Shiseido Ginza store, I was able to pick one up.

I was taken back with their magazine, for a cosmetics company, the magazine is beautifully designed with great editorial content and photography. I was particularly interested in the content choices and have made several notes below.

This is also working toward the following objectives:

1. To understand the ways in which Social Media and Magazines can affect self-perceptions and issues:

A) With body image (Females, 18-24)

B) With body image on a cross-cultural scale (Females, 18-24; Tokyo, Japan).

4. To prototype a range of design work targeted at 18-24 year old women, highlighting impacts of cross-cultural beauty/fashion trendsĀ on self-perceptions and body image.



Above: In certain articles, Japanese models are used, and I did notice that they have very light skin, representing the vast range of skin-lightening products which the brand has to offer.



Above: I noticed on the editorial above however, that even though shot in Tokyo, and features Japanese men, the female model is Western. I found this an interesting contrast in relation to the other spreads, especially due to having a Tokyo based theme for this specific editorial. However, I find the chosen model interesting due to hair and skin colour, not being common with Japanese females.




Above: I found the above spreads interesting in regards to design, and aesthetic choices, being typically ‘Japanese’. These are very inspiring for my practical project.

Furthermore, including a cat in the photoshoot I also found fascinating due to this often being seen promoting Japanese products such as Canmake and Paul and Joe, as seen in a following blog post. This ties in with the Kawaii, or ‘cute’ theme which is often seen in Japan adding a further youthful tone of voice and context. I found from previous research, reading academic journals and visual research, whilst being reaffirmed in interviews in Japan with Nicole (beauty blogger), and Vogue, that Japanese women’s primary focus with their beauty regimes is about looking ‘young’ with ‘baby-esk’ skin.


Above: The left hand side page shows an exhibition advert. The exhibition was held at the Shiseido Gallery which I visited in Ginza. The concept relayed around rays of ‘light’. The right hand side page looks at various new products, comparing prices and ‘end results’, including a range of skin-lightening seems.




Above: Above shows a double sided leaflet taken from the Shiseido store, looking at a new cushion-based foundation. I found this interesting due to using again, very young models, whilst on the reverse shows a step-by-step guide of recreating each of the models looks. From my research to date, as seen in many of the National Japanese magazines, women purchasing products want to know exactly how to apply such products and what the benefits are. This can also be seen on the right, whereby each product shows swatches of other shades available, clearly noting to the end-user what is on offer, what it does and how much this will set them back in regards to Japanese Yen.


Above: Two postcards which I bought in the Shiseido store. I purchased these due to heavily reflecting the self-surveying gaze theory as discussed in previous posts, both in relation to theoretical perspectives, but also in regard to Shiseido advertising campaigns which in the 1950s utilised this marketing strategy. This is something which has been discussed and analysed in depth on a previous blog post, whilst also appearing in my dissertation along with the image above to add context.














Above: Above shows a vast range of products on offer which can help lighten ones skin and prevent ageing. The amount of products on offer in comparison to the 4 products found in a stockist in the UK was overwhelming, but shows how important this ‘trend’ or ‘culture’ is to Japanese women.

In addition, the Shiseido Makeup Mirror was also found and played with, which after analysing and discussing heavily last semester in regard to new technologies within my field of practice was amazing to see and use. The mirror was also discussed in my first Professional Context presentation – this was the first augmented reality mirror to be designed and created by a cosmetics brand, and has since, similar versions have been designed and are being used by brands such as L’Oreal in both Japan and China. The mirror is an interesting idea, as it shows you how you look with different products, whilst the computer attached shares in-depth product information so the end-user is aware of what they are buying. I personally, did not see any Japanese women try any products on in store – everything was done via the Shiseido Mirror, reaffirming the stigmatism and ’embarrassment’ of trying on a range of products in store. This was also discussed last semester in relation to these new technologies.