【Japanese Beauty Vol.12】Secrets of the Film Industry Koh Gen Do Foundation

In the 12th chapter of Japanese Beauty, we would like to get a close-up of a cosmetic brand renowned in the film and television world. The star of today's show is Koh Gen Do's famous foundation.

Professional hair and makeup artists in the film industry all agree that this brand is a reliable go-to for creating flawless skin on screen. Koh Gen Do was founded in 1986. Its mission was to meet all the needs of professional makeup artists and provide cosmetics that would help the film and television industry. With a flood of comments like, "When I use Koh Gen Do foundation, it shows really well on film” or “Even during long shootings, it stays flawless on the skin," positive reviews of this foundation can be found both in Japan and abroad. So let's look at what makes Koh Gen Do's foundation a favorite of the makeup artists to the stars.

"Everyone in the film industry knows Koh Gen Do’s foundation," says top hair and makeup artist Mutsuki Sakai, who works in film and television. Last year, this sought-after artist did hair and makeup for 8 different films.

"Filming a movie can take between a month to a month and half, but before we begin shooting, we have to figure out the time period and design the looks for each character. All of that can take something like three months," said Ms. Sakai. Directors and star actors often approach her to do this work for their films.

We asked her about the makeup made for filming movies and television. According to her, "For example, the kind of makeup you use changes depending on the weather at the film location. If it's cloudy, the face can look dark and dull. If a scene moves from indoors to outdoors, the color of the face can look completely different. When seen through the camera lens, color makeup like lipstick or eye shadow ends up looking much darker. It's the small things, but we're always thinking about how we can add or take away makeup for the actors to look the most natural."

Compared to several years ago, camera technology used for film and television has made leaps and bounds. As a result, actors and actresses are looking for more natural and dewy makeup, which requires tools and techniques that are suitable for HD recording.

"When the digital era arrived, the mission to create perfect skin also got much harder. This is because the upgrade to HD meant we could see age spots, dull skin, dark circles, and pores so much more easily. And on top of that, actors cry, scowl, so their facial expressions are constantly changing. Creating a perfect look that looks natural in every scene is what hair and makeup artists like me are required to do," said Ms. Sakai.

But carefully calculated film makeup doesn't stop there.

"When you read the script and create the image of the characters, I feel that the makeup shouldn't interfere with that process. Of course, there’s makeup for different time periods, but the most important issue is that if we're striving for realness, the skin must look natural. But under the lights and on camera, the makeup can look different than it does to the naked eye. So it's very important to do camera tests," said Ms. Sakai.

Sounds like these camera tests are serious business.

"With Koh Gen Do’s foundation, the skin has a totally different radiance. It's different enough that actors who have done camera tests can confirm it," said Ms. Sakai.

At the 71st Cannes Film Festival, the winner of the Palme d'Or award was "Shoplifters," a Japanese film that had just been released in June this year. Ms. Sakai was in charge of the makeup.

"Mr. Kore-eda, the director, didn't want Sakura Ando or Mayu Matsuoka to look like they had any makeup on for certain scenes. For Sakura, I aimed for a makeup look that played off of her freckles," said Ms. Sakai.

"How do I show makeup as natural as possible?" That's the question. Although makeup techniques are part of it, the choice of products also plays a vital role in creating the perfect complexion.

Ms. Sakai chose to use Koh Gen Do's foundation out of a wide range of possible products. She has been a faithful user of Koh Gen Do for nearly 10 years.

"I started to use Koh Gen Do when I was working on "Fish Story" (2009) and the producer told me about it," said Ms. Sakai.

When she tried it out, she said she was surprised by how well it worked.

"Even on camera, the foundation didn't lose that natural skin quality. Even on the skin, it still had a translucent finish. It just creates a lovely finish without killing the natural quality of the actors' skin. It checked every box for an essential foundation to have in my toolkit," said Ms. Sakai.

In the makeup room, she prepares for work by lining up her Koh Gen Do products on the table and lighting her aromatherapy candles to greet the actors who come through her chair.

"A lot of actors love Koh Gen Do products, so putting them out on the table helps give us something to talk about. It seems the actors trust me more," said Ms. Sakai.

71st Cannes Film Festival
Palme d'Or Award Winner

"Shoplifters"

June 8 (Fri) at TOHO Cinemas Hibiya and theaters nationwide
Concept/Director/Screenwriter/Editor: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast: Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Matsuoka Mayu, Kiki Kirin

Koh Gen Do's reputation has even spread beyond Japan. It may not be very well known, but even famous celebrities in Hollywood use the brand's foundation. Yunje Jang from the Overseas Business Department told us some interesting stories about their overseas success.

"I was doing PR for a Japanese cosmetic brand in Korea, which was what brought me over to Japan in the first place. I loved Japan's makeup culture, so I thought someday I wanted be able to help introduce Japanese cosmetic products to Korea," said Ms. Jang.

Initially, she worked for a perfume company, until she found out that Koh Gen Do was looking for someone with PR experience to help them expand abroad. She sent in an application right away. Work got off to a busy start as soon as she was hired. Koh Gen Do had decided to book a booth at IMATS (International Makeup Artist Trade Show), which was to take place in Pasadena, a suburb of Los Angeles. "I'll never forget the experience," she said.

IMATS is a place to unveil the latest information on cosmetic and makeup technology, for the world's cosmetic companies to show off their technology and ingredients. The world's trend-setting makeup artists flock to the show, eager to learn about the industry's latest products and techniques.

"It was our first time to have a booth and I thought maybe I should just do a market survey to see what was trending over there." But something happened that she had never expected.

"An attendee stopped in front of our booth, and said, 'Wow! I got it!' She was asking things like, 'What's the brand name?' and 'Where can I buy it?'
It was just a barrage of questions. I was kind of taken aback," said Ms. Jang.

That woman turned out to be a famous makeup artist leading the makeup for the hit American TV show, "24." Needless to say, Ms. Jang was surprised when she found out.

"Word had apparently gotten out that an Academy Award-nominated Japanese actress had used our makeup, and I guess people in Hollywood had started to talk about where they could buy 'that foundation in the red tube.' The makeup artist was so excited, 'That's this foundation right in front of me!'"

The space around the booth filled in with a crowd of people. The makeup show was a huge hit. Hollywood's professional makeup artists couldn't seem to leave the Koh Gen Do booth alone!

"We were swamped with purchase requests, which made me want to scream with happiness," said Ms. Jang.

They sold out all the stocked products they had brought with them, so they had to put in an order to have more airmailed from Japan.

"I once went to the house of Tom Hanks' makeup artist, Vivian Baker, so that I could hand deliver some Koh Gen Do products to her.

The three weeks she was supposed to be in California turned into a longer stay of two months. "I didn't want to miss out on that chance," said Ms. Jang. What an amazing go-getter attitude!

Thanks to the makeup expo, Koh Gen Do’s brand recognition shot through the roof and offers rolled in one after the other. What's the appeal of Koh Gen Do?

"A lot of people said it fits really well on the skin. Foundation, face powder, and makeup base were the most popular Koh Gen Do products. Even in Hollywood, people were interested in a makeup that was gentle on the skin. The paraben-free, fragrance-free face powder started getting really good reviews around that time," said Ms. Jang.

Sharon Stone's exclusive makeup artist, Eldo Ray Estes, commented that "Koh Gen Do foundation is indispensable for women's makeup."

As of right now, Koh Gen Do has expanded to 10 other countries including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China. "Last year, we were lucky enough to take part in China's 'Double Eleven' day sales (November 11 is known as 'Singles' Day') as a debut brand. We reached our sales goals, so even in the rest of Asia, brand awareness of Koh Gen Do is on the rise," said Ms. Jang.

Sales are enjoying a solid upward trend. When we asked how much of their business was from overseas sales, Ms. Jang told us, "They've grown to 19.3% of the company's sales (as of March 2018). The expansion into China pulled those numbers up. This year it's likely to pass 20%."

That growth in overseas sales has led to a corresponding boost in the company's overall growth. "The results we're seeing will be our strength moving forward," she continued to say that "[i]t won't end here. We've got to work hard to turn Koh Gen Do into a global brand."

It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that one person is the key to Koh Gen Do's craftsmanship. That would be the brand director Megumi Setoguchi, also an esthetician at Koh Gen Do. Her supernatural skill draws famous actresses, models, and TV personalities to the salon at the company HQ in Azabu-jūban, Tokyo.

"Offers kept coming in from actresses asking for facial treatments with Koh Gen Do products, and calls really started pouring in when we officially started our salon business. At the time, a lot of people thought of salons as being for slimming and weight loss, but we wanted to make it a place for relaxation, rejuvenation, somewhere to improve the condition of the skin. Actresses were the ones who understood what we were getting at. We got a lot of feedback from them while we were doing their treatments.”

According to Ms. Setoguchi, the experience she gained from this salon became the foundation for Koh Gen Do's product creation.
"Actresses have very honest skin. When they're performing on the stage or on screen, they're under a lot of strain, but as soon as they’re done, their skin just tires out immediately.

It's like all of the skin's energy has been used up. When that happens, their skin can end up so damaged that they can't even use lotion. So they would flock to our salon. I started thinking if it might be possible for these women to get more in touch with their skin through self-care, if I might be able to make cosmetics that would strengthen their skin," said Ms. Setoguchi.

While she was working at the salon, she would chat with them. Occasionally, she would ask her customers what kind of product they would be interested in. "Out of all my suggestions, the most popular by far was a foundation that wouldn't cause skin problems with prolonged use. Those were really helpful suggestions. It would be completely fair to say that Koh Gen Do products were created from the opinions of actors."

"I'm always thinking about what ideal skin is, and I believe the plump, hydrated skin you get right after a facial is the most beautiful. The skin's texture is refined, soft, glowing, and even brighter than it usually is. It's still your bare skin with no makeup on, but in reality you almost can't say that it's your natural skin. So if possible, I thought it would be good if a foundation could capture all of those qualities, and I got started on making one," said Ms. Setoguchi.

"A lot of people think of a foundation as makeup. But Koh Gen Do foundation is for maintaining the condition of the skin. If anything, it's closer to the concept of skin care. That's why we were so picky about the formulation," explained Ms. Setoguchi. She promised to deliver three qualities when developing foundation; long-wearing, gentle and beautiful finish.

"Even if a foundation has good reviews, if it doesn’t stay on the skin and creases, there’s no point. Why does this happen? It's because the formula doesn't sink into the skin and fit well. The ingredients that make up the base of the foundation is extremely important," said Ms. Setoguchi.

Allowing her to keep those three promises were skin-friendly materials and technology that makes the best of reflecting light.

Out of all the ingredients she looked at, one that caught her eye was a so-called "RGB powder" that created layers of light on the skin. "This had apparently been around for a while, but no one had really talked about it," said Ms. Setoguchi. So what made her take a chance on this powder?

"Cameras were getting better and better, so actors' skin had started to show clearer than ever on screen. Makeup artists had started to ask themselves how they could cover dark spots and freckles. The more they tried to conceal, the more makeup they used, and would end up looking too thick."

But then she thought about switching things up. "When you’re too set on covering, the whole look just ends up too thick. But I started to think, I don’t need to cover, I need to reflect it and started to see if I could use the light," said Ms. Setoguchi.

The inspiration for this revelation came from a strobe light used on set.

"The strobe used to light an actor's face can completely change how she looks depending on how it hits her skin. If you put a veil over the skin that reflects different levels of light, you can make the skin look amazing without having to conceal dark spots or pores. I thought there might be a way to use that," said Ms. Setoguchi.

Inspiration can certainly come from anywhere!

This April, they released the third reformulation of this foundation, which first came out in 2008. Koh Gen Do included their proprietary Gloss Film Powder as an ingredient, which allowed for improved lightness and adherence to the skin.

"The actresses who use Koh Gen Do foundation have told me things like 'I can act without having to worry about my skin,' which makes me happy to hear," said Ms. Setoguchi.

Ms. Setoguchi has been around film sets since she was young. "My sister was an actress, so she would take me to set with her. I wanted to help out all those glamorous people and help their skin look its best," she said.

Now that personal desire to help the stars shine is also the mission of the company. In 1996, they partnered with a film production. Now it has been 22 years since their name first appeared in that film's end credits. Since then, the company has been involved in more than 745 productions, both in Japan and abroad (as of April 2018). In the future, it's clear that Koh Gen Do will continue its mission to support the film industry.

One of the products that best represents Koh Gen Do is its foundation. The development of their new foundation, "MAIFANSHI AQUA FOUNDATION," was led by Hisako Arasawa. Since joining the company in 2010, she has headed product development.

"I had worked in skin care product development before, but I wanted to try developing makeup products as well, so I joined Koh Gen Do," said Ms. Arasawa.

Although she started full of hopes and dreams, she ran into some conflicts right away.

"We were known as a favorite brand to film professionals, which was paralyzing. Not to mention that Koh Gen Do has incredibly high standards for product creation, so much that I was worried that I couldn't live up to the role." We spoke with her 8 years after she started as product development head, and she told us, "I've never stopped thinking about the products."

Most recently, she had been working on one of the brand's key product, "Aqua Foundation."

"This is the third reformulation. The first generation was a dewy, translucent foundation, while the goal of the second version was to increase its radiance and staying power on the skin. Our goal with the third generation was to increase its adhesion and ability to blend in with the skin," said Ms. Arasawa.

We asked her how many revisions a popular product could possibly need. "That's a tough question," she laughed, thinking it over.

"There are a lot of products that people call masterpieces and keep it as it is for years, never changing their formulas. But cosmetic research makes huge strides every day.
Things that were impossible yesterday are possible today. If those cutting-edge technologies and ingredients can meet the needs of our customers, then Koh Gen Do is the one to make an effort to use them," said Ms. Arasawa.

Still, not everything went as planned.

"When you're trying to improve one part of the product, other characteristics, like texture or longevity, can be affected and can throw off the whole balance of the product. A cosmetic product's functionality, texture, finish, everything needs to get a passing grade before it can hit the market. Not to mention that one of our most important missions at Koh Gen Do is to be gentle on the skin, so we really go through a lot until we can settle on a formula. Our manufacturers work with us to come up with sample after sample. There were so many days of internal checks that sometimes I just wanted to leave everything behind and run away," said Ms. Arasawa.

Everyone believes the final result would be perfect. While dealing with all the pressure, Ms. Arasawa started developing with advanced powder technology.

This time around, they elected to use three new kinds of powders. The first is a proprietary technology developed by Koh Gen Do for use with 8K televisions and cameras to be debuted at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Its name? "Gloss Film Powder." The second is "Airly Powder," a powder with an ability to stand up to the skin's oils and resist oxidation. The third is a powder that also helps the skin retain moisture, "Moist Drop Powder."

"The future of foundations that can give both translucency and a dewy finish lies with these miracle powders. These three powders work with a light-manipulating RGB Powder to create exactly the coverage and translucent glow that we wanted," said Ms. Arasawa.

Every sample was adjusted with 0.001 gram difference of each powder formula and for adjusting color; Ms. Arasawa’s desk would have samples piled up.

"Even slightly different quantities would totally change the finish. For testing the finish of different shades, natural morning light is the best. I would be swatching foundation on my arm, wiping it off, swatching it, over and over again. Now I feel kind of nostalgic about it," said Ms. Arasawa.

And after putting the finishing touches on the "MAIFANSHI AQUA FOUNDATION" masterpiece?

"It's a flood of emotion to think about how much we put into it. Still, when we were lining everything up in the store, I was so excited," said Ms. Arasawa.

Her creative process hasn't stopped there.

"Makeup helps women feel pretty, right? And I think it has the power to make everyone around you happy. I want to continue helping women feel and be beautiful.”

(From right to left, Jayme Cyk [Beauty Director], Stephanie Montes [Freelance writer], Sara Tan [West Coast Beauty & Fashion Editor], Amanda Montell [Features Editor], Megumi Setoguchi [Koh Gen Do Brand Director])

In mid-May, Koh Gen Do welcomed several media representatives from overseas to hold a special new product seminar.

Four beauty editors from America visited Koh Gen Do’sHQ in Azabu-juban, where they attended a talk on the brand's history, innovative technology, and product lines.

"Which Japanese brands do you like?" "What do you like about Koh Gen Do products?" During their visit, they talked about Japanese and American beauty topics to help the company learn what non-Japanese experts really think. Here's our report on what went down during the event!

On this press tour were several beauty editors active on American websites and social media services.
During their visit, they got the inside scoop from Koh Gen Do's Brand Director, Megumi Setoguchi, a beauty connoisseur with expertise in the industry and deep knowledge of Koh Gen Do products.

"I was really looking forward to today!" said Amanda Montell, Features Editor. The four visitors had their phones out, busily posting pictures to social media. They certainly seemed to be enjoying their stay in Japan!

Just before that, they had all done a survey about American women's values about makeup. Was anything different from Japanese women? Let's see what they had to say!

Q: Tell us about this season's skin trends!
A: Basically, it's usually matte skin, but for the last few years, "dewy skin" has been trending, so the trend now is a semi-matte finish. (Sara Tan/West Coast Beauty & Fashion Editor)

Q: What skin problems do American women deal with?
A: The main issues for women in their 20s and 30s are dryness and pores. Most women have combination skin and can be both dry and oily, so those two issues are extremely common. They'll use concealers or other products specifically for the pores to reduce the appearance of the pores. (Stephanie Montes/Freelance Writer)

Q: Do women use a makeup primer before their foundation?
A: Some do, some don't. It depends on preference. But I like the primer from Koh Gen Do. (Jayme Cyk/Beauty Director)

I like the light texture, and it's amazing for giving me the complexion I want. (Stephanie)

Then the educational seminar got started. The Koh Gen Do crash course distilled the history, technology, and product lines from Koh Gen Do into one quick talk. Ms. Setoguchi, Brand Director, gave a thorough rundown of the new technologies that went into Aqua Foundation.

"In April, we had a launch party for Aqua Foundation in L.A. Our goal was to let people experience the texture and finish of the foundation for themselves. Today, I want to take a deep dive into our brand's history and products with you, and I hope that you'll end up being fans of Koh Gen Do," she said as she launched into an impassioned talk.

After she spoke about the new foundation's technology, the questions started flying. While the guests were getting an in-person look at the unique Gloss Film Powder, everyone was busy snapping pictures and discussing the product.

"Koh Gen Do's Aqua Foundation is quite popular in America as well. It's probably the lightness of it, I think. It has a smooth texture, and it fits on the skin really well, which I like," said Sara.

The conversation continued with comments like, "The shades range is really natural and blends in really well. I'm glad you've expanded the shade range," and "It's a foundation, but it feels like a skin care product. You can really feel that attention to detail, which is the strength of Koh Gen Do as a Japanese brand."

There was no end to the words of praise for the highly regarded Koh Gen Do foundation.

It's commonly said that the high quality of Japanese cosmetics is well known even outside of Japan. But is that really true? We got the chance to ask how people abroad really feel about Japanese products.

◆Other than Koh Gen Do, what Japanese brands do you know or use?

All four of the visitors are apparently big fans of Koh Gen Do, but they also know a lot about other Japanese brands. In addition to Koh Gen Do, they mentioned using or having used Shiseido, Shu Uemura, and Utowa.

When one of them said, "Gentleness on the skin is really important in America," everyone else nodded in agreement. Seems like Japanese and American consumers are more or less the same when it comes to avoiding ingredients like parabens, fragrance, and mineral oil, even checking the ingredient list on the back of every product.

◆How did you find out about Japanese products?
If you follow Koh Gen Do reviews back to the source, it often seems to lead back to true connoisseurs like makeup artists, beauty editors, and social media influencers. As it turns out, these four guests had learned about Koh Gen Do in the same ways. "Someone told me about it when I was interning at a beauty website." "A magazine and web reporter I was into recommended it." "A makeup artist posted it on her website."

◆What kinds of cosmetics do Americans like?

The final question, "What kinds of cosmetics are trending in America now?" Amanda explained, "High performance for things like finish and texture," which everyone agreed with. Just like in Japan! Then the conversation took an interesting turn into what makes them want to buy a cosmetic. In Japan, cost performance is a big deal, but what about in the United States? 

"It's not exciting if it doesn't feel luxurious." "I'm the same, but I like exclusive products that haven't even shown up in magazines yet." "I want a nice packaging so I feel good carrying it around.”

After the seminar, they all took a field trip to Harajuku, Omotesando for a hands-on feel at Asian trends in department stores. The love of makeup and cosmetics certainly knows no borders, and that's not changing any time soon!

We spoke to PR head Erina Yamaguchi about Koh Gen Do's many surprising contributions to the world of film. Let's see what secrets she had to share!

While shooting on location in a desert with no water, Cleansing Water was a lifesaver for doing quick makeup changes.

"I heard it was used on the set of major hit American film 'Sex and the City 2' during a desert shoot. Cleansing Water is also a big hit in Japan, so now we've released a limited edition bottle to commemorate its 10th anniversary," said Ms. Yamaguchi.

(Limited edition release from June 3)
Cleansing Water 10th Anniversary Limited Edition Bottle
380ml 3,200 yen/Koh Gen Do.

"Makeup isn't only for making the actor's or actress's skin look beautiful," said Ms. Yamaguchi. Depending on their role, makeup artists will add or skip certain steps in makeup.

"To darken an actor's beard, they might use Maifanshi Mineral Eyebrow Pencil 03 Light Grey, or for an actor with tanned skin or a bolder look or a Japanese man who's spent a long time living in Indonesia or something, I've heard the international shades of Maifanshi Aqua Foundation (301, 302, 303) are useful. They're used quite often within Japan as well," said Ms. Yamaguchi.

How are products rated by their company employee? We asked Ms. Yamaguchi, and here's what she had to say.

"Our company has a lot of female employees, so the ratio of women to men is about 8:2. We've actually done a 'Company Best Cosmetics' survey where we asked all the female Koh Gen Do employees about the products they like."

We were really interested to hear what products made the cut! Let's take a look at the TOP 3 products that Koh Gen Do employees can't live without.

◆1st Place "ORIENTAL PLANTS CLEANSING CREAM"

So this cleansing cream snatched the crown. "It's almost like massaging the skin with a moisturizing cream, with an ultra high quality texture. As soon as you give it a try, you'll never want to use anything else," said Ms. Yamaguchi. What do other people have to say?

"I use it every evening and it takes off my makeup while still protecting my skin's natural oils, which is a lifesaver. Before I first started using this, I was worried non-oil products wouldn’t be able to remove all of my makeup but this doesn't clog my pores and I can feel that it leaves my skin moisturized."

"It completely removes my mascara and makeup, so I can’t imagine using a different cleanser."

"It resets my skin at the end of the day! I can give my skin a massage while I take off my makeup."

◆2nd Place "MACRO VINTAGE ROYAL MASSAGE MILK"

As age and fatigue begin to show on the face, loss in the skin's firmness is one of the biggest concerns people face. "Massage Milk is made specifically to plump the skin from inside," said Ms. Yamaguchi.

"When my skin is really tired and stressed out after business trips and events, I use this and it freshens up my complexion!”

"Even on days when I'm low on sleep or don't feel well, this helps my skin look firmer, so I can still manage to make it out the door."

"It works fast to make the skin look more radiant. I like the texture too, so it’s really relaxing for me, too."

◆3rd Place "CLEANSING WATER"

This long-time favorite celebrates its 10th year on the market this year. It's only natural that it would have many fans inside the company as well.

"We've had customers from China buy more than 10 bottles per person. It's a really popular product," said Ms. Yamaguchi.

"I always keep a bottle and a pack of cotton pads on my bedside table. Now, no matter how late I'm out or how much I've had to drink, I can always take off my makeup before bed."

"Thanks to this product, I never skip taking off my makeup before I go to sleep. When I had surgery on my eyes, I couldn't even wash my face, but I could use this to wipe my face clean!"

"Even if I don't use a lotion after removing my makeup, I still wake up with my skin feeling moisturized. It's so hydrating that it almost doesn't feel like a makeup remover."

◆3rd Place "MAIFANSHI MAKEUP COLOR BASE"

This makeup base was revamped in 2017. Apply before foundation to completely change the final finish of your base makeup. "It works well with liquid or powder foundation, so almost all of our female employees are big fans. You can choose the shade you want based on your ideal complexion and skin concern," said Ms. Yamaguchi.

Yellow: "It's a must for giving my skin a healthy glow. The natural look lasts until evening, or even until late at night."

Lavender Pink: "This is the only product I'll never let go of. Its pore coverage and staying power are unbeatable! I have pink undertones in my skin, so I love how the pink shade blends in well."

"I'm so into how amazing this is for making my skin look like it has no flaws at all! I use the shades on different areas for different problems."

As Ms. Yamaguchi said, "These are all products that I love too. I completely understand why these made it into the TOP 3 favorites of our employees." So what do you think? If you haven’t yet, why not give Koh Gen Do products a try?

Mutsuki Sakai
Hair & Makeup Artist. An expert in the film and television industry. Every day, she makes sure actors can concentrate and enjoy acting with her makeup. Actors, directors, and camera crews praise her ability to use makeup to create looks that maintain the beauty of the skin and seem more natural with time.

Megumi Setoguchi
Brand Director at Koh Gen Do. In her 20s, she encountered oriental medicine and spent time learning its theories and philosophies. While she was in charge of facial treatments at the salon in Tokyo's Azabu-Jūban HQ, she also works on product planning and development. The unique product lines that she has created are beloved by many in the film and makeup industry not only for their ingredients, formulas, and textures, but also for their functionality and gentleness on the skin.

Yunje Jang
Overseas Business Acting General Manager. Ever since joining Koh Gen Do in 2006, she has headed up overseas business expansion. She has strong relationships with overseas hair and makeup artists, agencies, and developers. She also made major contributions to the company's expansion into China during the previous year. She is a multi-talented asset with language skills in Korean, English, and Japanese.


Hisako Arasawa
Product Development Division. Thanks to her experience in makeup brand product development, she joined Koh Gen Do in 2010. Her passion is "helping people become beautiful," so every day, she puts everything she has into researching. Her devotion to work is incredible she even claims, "When I'm working on a new product, I even end up thinking about it on my days off!"


Erina Yamaguchi
PR Department. She joined the company in 2014. After gaining experience in sales, she became the head of PR in 2017. She commented, "In South Korea, there is a place name with the same Chinese characters as Koh Gen Do (Gangwon Province), so a people tend to think it's a foreign brand. But it's a fully-fledged, Tokyo-born brand from Azabu-Jūban." Every day, she works on PR campaigns through print, TV, and online channels to help more women learn about the authentically Japanese products from Koh Gen Do.

Photography by Daichi Saito
Interview & Text by Mayumi Hasegawa

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