【Japanese Beauty Vol.8】The Holy Grail of Tissue! Nepia ”Hana Celeb”

As spring starts getting closer, more of us start to suffer from that ever so familiar sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny noses. That's right, it's hay fever season once again, the so-called “national sickness” plaguing Japan. It's the tough time of the year, especially for us women. Our noses itch, yet we can't blow our noses without removing our makeup and turning into Rudolph the Red-Nosed allergy-sufferer. Furthermore, if we wear masks to help our allergies, they irritate our skin.. In such times of such need, don’t fear! Oji Nepia's Hana Celeb is here!

These tissues have fans all year-round, not just during the hay fever season. Even the beauty industry is taking notice of these gems. Despite new, unique projects launching all year long, you might be surprised at the ever-increasing popularity of these tissues. In this installment of @cosme NIPPON PROJECT, we will focus on Nepia's popular Hana Celeb tissues.

Taking a look at the latest review rankings on @cosme, Nepia's Hana Celeb tissues have claimed the number one spot in the “Mask/Tissue” category. Unlike cosmetics, products like tissues or face masks generally have much lesser reviews and yet, Hana Celeb tissues have more than 1,500 reviews on @cosme. Being miles ahead of other tissues, they have a decisive lead in terms of brand recognition.

What’s even more worth mentioning is its review star ratings. As of December 25, 2017, 418 users had given them a perfect rating of 7 stars. If you take a look at all of the reviews, you can see that people have left countless unique comments. Let's take a look at some of them.

Below are the top keywords that come up when people review Hana Celeb.
-Moisturizing
-Soft
-Gentle on the skin
-Doesn't hurt my nose
-Doesn't make my skin red

Many comments also mention one of the best things about Hana Celeb tissues:
They don't hurt or turn your nose red, no matter how often you blow your nose.

It turns out that makeup and cosmetics aren't the only products on @cosme which are gentle and comfortable enough to appeal to the senses. Other than hay fever or catching a cold, Hana Celeb tissues are a lifesaver for users dealing with chronic rhinitis or house dust allergies.

“Me: I have hay fever + dust allergy + house mite allergy. With most tissue brands, blowing my nose all day leaves the area under my nose chapped and red, and the area even starts to bleed sometimes... However, this problem ended since I started to use Hana Celeb . Once, I ran out of my Hana Celeb tissues and had to settle for some generic ones. After using them for 2 to 3 times, the skin around my nose turned red like some kind of warning signal. I simply can't survive without these!” (阿香弥)

“This is the first time I've been impressed by a tissue. They were that good! My skin is super sensitive to irritation. Even rubbing my nose a little causes my skin to turn bright red. But using Hana Celeb is totally fine. It doesn't hurt; it doesn't make my skin flake or peel; and I'm fine no matter how much I blow my nose! “ (*佐倉*♪)

“This is the only kind I can use during hay fever season. There are a lot of moisturizing tissues out there, but these are the most moisturizing for me, and they don't cause the skin around my nose to turn red or dry. Whenever I find Hana Celeb in the store, I buy tons of them. During hay fever season, I also use Hana Celeb pocket tissues.” (★カピバラ★)

One common comment about these tissues is regarding their comfort on the skin. Lots of reviewers commented positively about their softness and moisturizing quality.
“It's a tissue, yet it's more than that.”

“When I catch a cold, it is usually long-lasting, which means I'm pretty picky about which tissues I use to blow my nose. Since the texture is soft and smooth, almost pillowy, I can blow my nose as much as I want without my skin getting dry or irritated. They're really comfortable. It's definitely important to use the right kind of tissue for the right situation.” (愛漣ですぞ!)

“They're expensive, but nothing else can compare! I really recommend them for people who get a runny nose from allergies and/or have problems with rashes or irritation. Normal tissues won't cut it after you've used these. They're really very moisturizing.” (anash)

“In my home, these are the only option. The first time I used them, I was blown away by how they felt. I've been using them ever since. They have this hydrating feeling that's so nice. Once you get used to them, regular tissues will just feel hard and scratchy.” (BaroqueNail)

Hana Celeb has taken its tissue game beyond just blowing your nose. It turns out that Hana Celeb is essential to keep your skin looking its best.

“When I catch a cold or have allergies, most tissues make my nose feel dry and painful, like it’s going to fall off. My skin even starts peeling. It's the worst. When I use Hana Celeb, I can keep things under control even when the hay fever season is at its peak. Also, I love the crossovers with Rilakkuma and the zoo animal ones.” (ここあぷりん)

“I picked these up hoping they would be able to reduce my skin's irritation, even a little. I also wanted to use them to remove makeup. I'd heard that these were on a totally different level of softness compared to most tissues, but I didn't know they were THAT different. When I actually used them, they were surprisingly gentle on my skin! If I had known they were that much better, I would have bought them way earlier.” (*akira*)

“This is a must-have when I'm down with a cold. I can't even blow my nose with other tissues anymore. Seriously, if the skin around my nose is dry and sensitive, using these is enough to calm things down. It's pretty embarrassing to walk around with a dry, red nose like a little kid, right?” (sakura-sun)

“Best tissues. I mean, they're expensive. But they're a total must. I've got chronic rhinitis, so the skin around my nose turns red a lot. For someone like me, non-irritating tissues help me avoid that problem. Now, I don't have to re-do my makeup as often, and I don't need to use concealer to hide the redness around my nose. These are super gentle on the skin, so I also use them with my wipe-off makeup cleanser.” (蝶。華)

“Wiping my face clean, using it for DIY sheet masks, during allergy season...whatever I need a tissue for, it's got to be these. They absorb so much liquid that they're perfect for a DIY sheet mask, and when I used them to wipe my face, they don't feel scratchy or harsh. They're so soft that I find myself nuzzling into them without thinking. They're a little expensive, so I never use them on anything but my skin.” (ナツコ)

As any Hana Celeb-lover can tell you, these tissues have seriously cute, unique design partnerships. Many know the actual tissues are great, but the cute packaging is what really makes you want to buy them.

“The packaging is so cuuute!! They're pricey for tissues, but these are really useful when I'm sick or when my kids have to blow their noses. They're also the tissues I keep in my car. I really recommend them for how soft they are.” (あきまるぅ)

“Thank god for these during hay fever season. So why do I buy these? Obviously it's because of how cute they are! I can't resist.” (ジェイソン・ボーン)

“I only bought them because the package was so cute, but I didn't think they would end up being this effective! I've got a chronic runny nose, so I wipe my nose more than I can count every day, and these tissues are gentle and comfortable. One thing I should mention is that these don't result in the chapped skin that I get from wiping my nose too much (^▽^). I'm doomed to have allergies, so I'd given up hope, but these are my savior.” (anemone75)

Functional, comfortable, and cute design. Hana Celeb tissues are changing the game in every way. Looking at the reviews, the consensus is that they may be pricey, but they're more than worth it. Getting your money's worth is always important, right?


“You see a lot of people who are like 'You absolutely have to try Hana Celeb!' but I'd always wondered if they were actually that great. Then, in the last couple years I've been getting hay fever, these have been a real lifesaver. They're so comfortable that they just glide over my skin, and now I feel like these are the one and only tissue for me.” I totally understand why these cost as much as they do.” (さといもこ**)

“I have allergies to Japanese cedar and cypress trees, so I'm blowing my nose for months without end, but these tissues don't hurt at all, which is amazing. One box is around 200 yen, so even when they're on sale I could buy five boxes of generic tissues for the same price. But whatever, these feel so good that I don't mind. I'll keep buying them.” (てぃくる)

When it comes to tissues, Nepia is one of the most well-known brands you can find in Japan. Their Hana Celeb series, with adorable animal faces adorning each box, is unforgettably attractive.

The Hana Celeb story goes all the way back to its start in September of 2004. “Many suggestions were put forth before we arrived at this design,” said marketing director Junko Hirawawa. “Just like the design, we chose the name 'Hana Celeb' out of more than 100 options.” The Hana Celeb series started out as boxed tissues, expanding their product line to include pocket tissue packs, Hana Celeb ITSUMO, and the more sophisticated Otona's Hana Celeb series. In 2011, they introduced a line of toilet tissues, Oshiri Celeb.

How many people saw the name “Hana Celeb” for the first time and was in awe of how catchy it is? Who actually decided to name these tissues Hana Celeb in the first place?
“First off, we needed to get people to understand that this is a product targeted specifically for the nose. [“Hana” means “nose” in Japanese.—Editor]” said Ms. Hirakawa. “There were some naysayers, but we ended up using the Chinese character for the word “nose” to provide some impact.”

“Then, 'celeb' has a bit of a high-class, rich image, right? So we ended up going with the name 'Hana Celeb' to convey this idea of treating your nose like a celebrity and using luxurious tissues for it. Despite strong opposition, our then product planning manager gradually brought people on board and got the product onto shelves.”

For Hana Celeb, known as an innovator in the tissue industry, an essential product for many, coming up with a luxurious concept that would give the product an edge must have been the toughest task for the product developers. “We were thinking that if we are going to make Hana Celeb, we want to go for a high quality and comfort that no other tissue brand ever had,” said Ms. Hirakawa.

However as it turns out, there was actually another product that provided the model for the Hana Celeb concept. In telling the story of Hana Celeb, there is one product you absolutely can't ignore. That would be the “Nepia Moisture Tissue” before the launch of Hana Celeb.

“Everyone knows that when you blow your nose too much, it turns red, right? When dry tissues were the mainstream, we wanted to make a tissue that wouldn't turn your nose red, which is what gave us the idea to start developing a more moisturizing version,” said Ms. Hirakawa.

“In fact, more and more people are down with hay fever or dust allergies every year. We wanted to make products that come from the customers’ point of view, so we started developing 'Nepia Moisture Tissue' in order to cater to increasing consumer needs,” said Ms. Hirakawa.

In 1996, “Nepia Moisture Tissue” debuted. Just like the name suggested, the tissues were a soft, “moist” tissue. “In these days people know what moisturizing tissues are, but at that time, people thought it meant that the tissues were actually wet, and so as you might guess, they didn't really catch on.”

So how did “Nepia Moisture Tissue” become the model for Hana Celeb?

“Nepia Moisture Tissues weren't a huge hit, but the reviews from our core target market were good, and they developed a passionate cult following. Once you actually tried them, the difference from a regular wet tissue was very obvious; and they were made with a technique that gave them a moisturizing feeling coupled with a soft texture that you couldn't achieve with just dry tissues. That technique in particular made us wonder if this product might be a future necessity in the coming years. We refined that technique and developed a new tissue that would have 'ultimate comfort.' We would never have been able to create Hana Celeb without Nepia Moisture Tissue.”

Blowing your nose as many times as you need, without your skin turning red? For a tissue that can provide you such results, the secret to success is comfort and customer satisfaction. Nepia told us that they believed this would become standard practice in the tissue industry.

“Our assessment of the market situation was that demand for moisturizing tissues was inevitable. As long as there are people suffering from red noses after using tissues, we wanted to make the ultimate tissue to alleviate that problem. That was the dream of the development team at the time,” said Ms. Hirakawa.

If these were going to become the ultimate tissue, were there concerns that development costs and high prices might backfire?

“If a top-grade tissue with superior quality and materials can solve someone's problem, then there will definitely be customers who will buy our product.” So all we had to do was aim for that special silken feel on the skin.

“I think they're really well made,” said Haruko Souma, vice-director of Oji Nepia's Household Development Center. She has been involved in product development for Nepia since 2008, working on products like Hana Celeb, face masks, wet tissues, paper towels etc.
“I've worked on a variety of products, but Hana Celeb is one that's so well-made that there's hardly anything to improve.”

These days, it's almost a rule that long-time classics will undergo minor improvements for better materials or formulations. And when it comes to products that we use every day, “new and improved” versions are not just expected, but almost required. Despite that, Hana Celeb tissues have been on the market for more than a decade with zero changes to the basic product. Honestly, we were a little surprised.

“That's right. One of the most amazing things about Hana Celeb is we got it completely right the first time, which is unheard of. Not to brag, but that hardly ever happens.”

Here's a short overview of the process that makes Hana Celeb so special.

The paper that tissues are made of start off as “pulp,” which is the fiber obtained from lumber. Generally speaking, there are two types of trees: conifers and broadleaf trees, also known as softwood and hardwood trees. The fibers from these two types of trees provide different qualities. A fine balance is achieved by Hana Celeb in order to get the best of both worlds.

Pine trees are one of the most recognizable conifers. Wood fibers from these trees are characteristically thick and long. On the other hand, fibers from hardwood trees are finer and thinner. If you're looking for softness, hardwood fibers are more suitable, but if you wondered whether tissues used 100% hardwood fiber, the answer would be a resounding “No!”

Tissues need to be soft, yet they also need to possess a certain degree of resilience. Tough, resilient fibers are long and become enmeshed more easily, creating a more durable material. You just need to find the right balance of wood fibers from both types of wood, according to Ms. Souma.

The moisturizing power of Hana Celeb tissues is what makes them unique. It might sound incredulous, but wood possesses the natural ability to lock in moisture. However, wood pulp's water-retaining properties aren't enough to provide tissues with the softness that the skin needs.

For that, Nepia's product developers thought, “Why not add highly moisturizing cosmetic ingredients to the tissue itself?” So they began working on a unique blend of moisturizing ingredients found only in Hana Celeb tissues. The three of them are <glycerine>, <sorbitol>, and <squalene>.

<Glycerine> has the natural ability to absorb moisture found in the air. It's not an exaggeration to say that these tissues get their softness from glycerine.

<Sorbitol> helps to lock moisture in once it has been absorbed. The combined power of glycerine and sorbitol is what helps prevent loss of moisture.

<Squalane> is an ingredient that is often used in cosmetics because of its moisturizing effects. There were concerns regarding adding a cosmetic ingredient into a tissue, but Squalene and the other two moisturizing ingredients worked amazingly well with wood pulp, which is what made it possible to develop these tissues.

To fulfill the customer’s demand for a tissue which is gentle on the skin, special attention was given to the materials and ingredients. However, are they really good for the skin?
Quantifiable data was collected which proves that not only are the tissues gentle on the skin, but they are effective in protecting the skin.

We subjected 2 types of tissues, one with moisturizing ingredients (Hana Celeb) and others without, under the same conditions and found that there was a difference in their weight. Hana Celeb tissues, with their moisturizing ingredients, captured some of the moisture found in the air, giving them more weight.

We also looked into the friction factor.

When you blow your nose with a tissue, the contact between the paper and skin causes friction damages the outer layer of the skin, also known as the stratum corneum. When the skin is damaged, it loses moisture more easily.

However, Hana Celeb contains these moisturizing ingredients which are more gentle on the skin, hence reduces friction on the skin.

After hearing all this, these tissues start to sound more and more like a cosmetic product.

“They do, don't they? [laughter] Tissues are something which you use every day, but we're coming from the same stance as a cosmetics manufacturer, whereby every stage of development is treated meticulously. ”
After this, we're starting to get a clearer picture on why moisturizing tissues are creating a buzz in the beauty industry.

By now, we're interested in what goes into making the “ultimate tissue.” We spoke to Masahiko Hashimoto, production manager at Oji Nepia's factory in Nagoya, where Hana Celeb tissues are made.

Q1: For the “ultimate tissue,” Hana Celeb must have its own manufacturing facility, right?
A1: No. In addition to making Hana Celeb, we also manufacture other household paper products, like tissue paper, toilet paper, and paper towels.

Q2: Can you give us a quick rundown of the process used to make Hana Celeb?
A2: Here's the general process used to make tissue and toilet paper.

Paper making
What comes first is the “sheet formation” step. Imagine spreading the wood pulp out in a very thin sheet. Now, at this stage, the moisturizing ingredients haven't been added yet.

Rolling
Once the tissue paper is thin enough, it's placed into a machine that rolls it up.

Folding

Cutting

Packing/Plastic Wrapping (3-box packages only)


Boxing

So that's the process.
We know that Hana Celeb tissues have moisturizing ingredients added during manufacturing, but we still wanted to know where that step was. The ingredients are introduced to the tissues after the sheets are made, but the exact process is an industrial secret known only to a select few within the company.

Q3: How many boxes of Hana Celeb tissues can be made from this roll of material that looks like a giant roll of toilet paper?
A3: You could get about 4,500 boxes of Hana Celeb out of this roll.

After Hana Celeb launched, Nepia continued on their quest to find something newer, better, leading to one hit product after another. “We came up with the idea to develop Hana Celeb ITSUMO so that it is more convenient for people to can carry our product with them and use it with ease,” said Haruko Souma, vice-director of Oji Nepia's Household Development Center.

“We've had customers tell us that they can't use dry tissues now that they've used Hana Celeb. [laughter] That's why we tried making pocket tissue packs, but we noticed a lot of customers were telling us that there were too few tissues in each pack, and it's not like they could carry around a full-sized box of Hana Celeb. We started to think about it, and we conceived the idea of a larger format of portable tissues called ITSUMO [“Itsumo” means “always” in Japanese.—Editor], since you can always carry it around.”

How do we maintain the same tissue size as Hana Celeb, yet come up with a slim package that's easy to fit your bag. At first, we considered making the packaging smaller for better portability. However, a smaller package size would require the tissues to be have more folds.

“We wanted to avoid giving customers the hassle of having to unfold a tissue before blowing their nose. In order to do that, our only option was to devise a different opening for the packaging,” said Ms. Souma.

One concern was that carrying large format tissues around in a container that opened up all the way could cause the tissues to dry out. By preventing these lotion-type tissues from drying out, they could reduce the amount of wasted product, even when they sat around in someone's bag. Ms. Souma was the one who had the idea to reduce the length of the opening to half the length of the package.

“Making the front opening narrower made it possible to protect the tissues and stop them from drying out. But simply making the opening smaller meant that the next tissue would end up sticking out of the package, which introduced a new problem in terms of making the tissues less portable.”

So how did Nepia solve this never-ending list of challenges?

“One of the unique characteristics of moisturizing tissues is that they retain moisture. When you need a tissue, you only need to take one sheet out. So we changed the folding pattern from one that caused the next sheet of tissue to come out to a folding pattern that only dispensed one tissue at a time.”

That's right, unlike a box of tissues, these are designed so that only a single sheet comes out at once. It seems obvious now, but it was a real breakthrough.

“Right. We tried folding the tissues so that each sheet created a sort of double door pattern, creating a gap in the center of the folded tissue. When you reach your finger into that gap, you can pull the tissue out of the package easily. We also had the packaged designed so that it popped right open on the penguin's tummy. [laughter]”

The completed Nepia Hana Celeb ITSUMO product certainly is user-friendly, which means less stress for users. “Originally, we targeted young women with this product, but it turned out that a high percentage of users were mothers, and they use it when their kids catch a cold,” said Ms. Souma.

A single box of tissues for 1,500 yen?! That price might come as a shock to a lot of people, but anyone who knows about “Chou Hana Celeb” premium moisturizing tissues is most definitely a Hana Celeb connoisseur. Breaking the mold for a box of tissues was a bold move which paid off. People were clamoring to give them a try, which came as a surprise.

Ken Okahiro, deputy department manager of consumer marketing, works in the marketing department that was involved in the planning of the product. Recalling the project, he told us, “We believed that there had to be demand for a premium moisturizing tissue.”

He continued, “The Chou Hana Celeb concept that we worked on was meant to be something no one had ever seen before, 'the ultimate moisturizing tissue.' Basically, it is a version of Hana Celeb that surpasses Hana Celeb. A product that caresses the skin with a beautifully soft touch, something that makes the nose feels more elegant, more beautiful.”

(Chou Hana Celeb 1st Edition, 2007)

Q1: The embossing on the box and the print on the tissue is an 'ultra rare' design that hasn't been done before, right?
A1: Yes. In order to achieve an ultra-moisturizing, ultra-soft, ultra-tempting feel, we tried out a 3-layer tissue design that we had never employed before. We also made the first one a scented tissue, and then made our next project to print on the tissue itself.

Q2: How was the reaction within the company?
A2: They were only going to be sold through our online store, so it was hard for us to predict how sales would go. However, when they were released, lots of media outlets picked up on the story and so we were able to sell out the limited edition run.

(Chou Hana Celeb 2nd Edition Black Version, 2007)

Q3: Did you do any specific promotions?
A3: For the first and second editions, we sold them exclusively online. The third edition was given out as gifts to winners of our campaign contest. Whenever they were available, we always put out a press release. Even though they were tissues, people were always curious in the fact that we were doing something interesting, so the word spread naturally.

(Chou Hana Celeb 2nd Edition White Version, 2007)

Q4: Compared to the regular version of Hana Celeb, this version should definitely be more expensive to manufacture. Were you able to recoup the cost?
A4: Chou Hana Celeb tissues differ from the normal manufacturing process in several ways, so many of the costs were higher. However, as our final aim is to boost the value of the Hana Celeb brand, profitability is not a priority. As the product received a lot of media attention, we could feel the increase in brand awareness.

We interviewed Aki Sakai, from Hana Celeb's marketing department.

Why did you use animal faces for Hana Celeb box designs?

“After we decided on the name of the product, we started to work on the design. Someone at the company said, why not center the design around noses, since it's named after the nose? And so we tried out a design that used human noses... But it was way too realistic, and the idea was dismissed right away since we were all in agreement that 'This won't sell.' [laughter]”

We never would have thought the original design was a person's nose! We would have liked to see it…

“From a long term perspective, package design is an important aspect of the product. Someone suggested the noses of baby animals as they can fully feature the appeal of the soft, white, soothing feeling of a tissue. And so that's what we went with.”

For the final candidates, the team suggested rabbits, seals, goats, and all sorts of white animals, and it is at this point that there was a small twist...

“The first one we released was a design with a baby goat since goats have this image of chomping on paper. We really took our time to get the photograph right, but... Its eyes were really angular and people said it was creepy. So we ended up with a lot of unsold inventory and had to re-do the design. In the end, we replaced it with a polar bear.”

You may be wondering which animals are the most popular Hana Celeb designs. You might have heard of the Japanese idol group AKB48, which holds regular fan polls to determine which members are the top fan-favorites. Well, it turns out that Hana Celeb does the same thing with their box designs, and they've been doing it for a longer period of time! Here are the top 3 most popular animals from previous contests.

1st Place: Emperor penguin chick

2nd Place: Dwarf rabbit

3rd Place: Snowy owl

Leading first place is the emperor penguin chick, which beat the number two design by a huge margin. Compared to a grown-up penguin, it has these big round eyes and cute face. The nose? Well, it might be barely visible, but it's clear that most people adore this.

Another unforgettable animal design worth mentioning has been around since 2012. You can find it on a mini tissue collection created in collaboration with the Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido. Animals in the Asahiyama Zoo are featured on the package, making them the perfect souvenir to pick up at the zoo gift shop.

“The mini tissues themselves aren't much different from the regular ones, but our goal has always been to create buzz around the product. We approached Asahiyama Zoo with that idea and introduced designs with animals which are popular at the zoo, like the polar bear, red panda, and giraffe.

We also introduced a limited edition wolf design sold at convenience stores, and it was unexpectedly popular. For the animal pictures, we specially to a trip to Asahiyama Zoo where they allowed us to photograph the animals.”

Even though they are just tissues, Hana Celeb really excels in terms of its marketing. Brand collaborations don't stop with just Asahiyama Zoo, but extends to other partners as well; and Nepia has gathered passionate fans who even strive to collect every new design.

“The Monchichi franchise celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014, and we did a collaboration design for that. I heard there were a lot of adults who bought them for the nostalgia factor,” said Ms. Sakai.

Constant innovation means consumers won't get tired of your product. New, surprising ideas and buzz-worthy concepts are all part of Hana Celeb's marketing strategy, providing the brand with a sense of excitement and fun.

The inspiration for new ideas is always customer input. Hana Celeb is always open to what customers have to say, be it in-store or on social media. For example…

“Nepia offers many different types of products, so we get a lot of inquiries regarding product differences or where to find them, but we get the most inquiries about Hana Celeb,” said Hiromi Fujisawa, head of Nepia's customer service department.

Q1: Any interesting stories?
A1: We've gotten user questions such as “Can I use Hana Celeb on anywhere other than my nose?” To which we respond, yes, please use them however you want. We've also had a Hana Celeb fan contact us to say, “I want you to use my dog on your packaging!”

Q2: Can you tell us which collaborations have gotten the most questions from customers?
A2: Every time we release a new series, there's an uptick in customer questions, but there's not a huge difference in how many we get. But if I have to name out, the reactions to the “Splendid Horse Series” and the “Character Series” were quite strong.

<Splendid Horse Series>
There are quite a lot of people who are inspired by the stories of these famous horses. Since this series started in 2011, each release is accompanied by questions from customers asking where they can find this design in stores.
There are also many customers who look forward to finding out which well-known horses will be selected for the next series.

<Character Series>
Memorable collaborations include character designs like Rilakkuma, Monchhichi, Cheburashka, the city mascot Barysan, and the dog Wasao. Whenever these designs come out, they create a lot of buzz on social media, and we get a lot of questions asking where they can be bought.

Inspired by Chou Hana Celeb, Nepia's new concept is a product called “Otona's Hana Celeb.”
“We received a lot of customer requests hoping that we would make them a regular product line, and so we designed a version of the product to respond to those customers,” said Ms. Sakai.

“For the first series, we commissioned the illustrations from a prominent French artist. It was a really popular design, so it ended up being over a year until we developed the second series. There was also a suggestion to change up the material used for the box, but it never really clicked with me. But around that time, I happened to see a coloring book for adults and thought people might actually enjoy it.”

“The delicate line drawings really matched up with the concept I envisioned. In addition, I thought it also had a sense of personal enjoyment that suited the Hana Celeb brand.”

With a high-class appearance which could fit into with any household interior design, these tissues were made with close attention to detail. To get it right, they followed leads from both within Japan and overseas, finally finding their right artist in England.

People loved the idea of a tissue box with a coloring book design. Reviews mentioned how fun it was to color in a unique box that matched their interior decoration and personal taste. Word spread and before anyone knew it, Nepia's new product was a hit.

Hana Celeb has created a number of hit collaboration designs, but the people behind the brand say that they haven't forgotten what Hana Celeb is at its core.

The roots of Hana Celeb can be found in the words of anyone who has ever said, “When I blow my nose, my nose turns red. I just wish I could do something about it.” No longer just another household necessity, Hana Celeb has elevated the humble tissue to a cosmetic holy grail.
We're looking forward to seeing what new, fun products Hana Celeb launches next. Keep an eye out for their next hit!

【Junko Hirakawa】
Oji Nepia marketing department, consumer marketing division. She has been in charge of multiple product promotional campaigns as well as several Hana Celeb collaborations with other brands. She has a real affection for the projects she's worked on, not to mention a bit of a quirky side that has led her to fill her house with tissues from every collaboration.


【Haruko Souma】
Vice-director of Oji Nepia's Household Development Center. A veteran researcher, she has more than 30 years of experience working for Oji Paper. She has led manufacturing projects for everything from newsprint to cardboard, transferring to lead product development for Nepia in 2008. She is currently in charge of developing products like Hana Celeb, face masks, wet tissues, paper towels, and other household products.


【Aki Sakai】
Oji Nepia marketing department, consumer marketing division chief. Current product planning chief for the Hana Celeb brand. “When we were working on the second Otona's Hana Celeb release, we were moving as fast as we could to finish the project and complete the design. So when we finished the coloring book-style animation, I was so happy I almost cried.”

Photo/Koharui Wata
Interview・Text/Mayumi Hasegawa

※Our pages are translations of articles published on Japan's @cosme. All products introduced in the articles are sold in Japan.

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