January 30, 2013
One hundred and forty years ago, Arinobu Fukuhara built on his experience working as chief pharmacist at a navy hospital to establish Shiseido, Japan’s first Western-style pharmacy in the Ginza district of Tokyo. Concerned about the inferior medications then available to the public, he aspired to separate medical care and pharmaceutical dispensing in Japan. Shiseido’s first president, Shinzo Fukuhara, led Shiseido into the cosmetics business in 1897. The only cosmetics sold in Japan at that time, powder and lipstick, were simply for altering appearance. Dissatisfied with the status quo, Shiseido brought a fresh perspective to cosmetics (n.d.). They formulated their products like pharmaceuticals because they strongly believed that the true value of cosmetics was in achieving healthy, beautiful skin. Based on this belief, Shiseido has developed with an unwavering philosophical commitment to high quality, innovation and authentic value. Millions of people have come to know and trust the Shiseido name as a result. The origin of the company name “Shiseido” is a passage from the Chinese classic, I Ching (The Book of Changes): “praise the virtues of the great Earth, which nurtures new life and brings forth new values.” Shiseido puts the intent of this passage into practice by discovering and creating new value. This is our founding spirit, and it continues unbroken as Our Mission, Shiseido’s raison d’être (Annual report 2012).
Having started out as a pharmacy, it wasn’t until 1915 that Shiseido changed direction and committed to the cosmetics industry. The move was masterminded by Shinzo Fukuhara, the third son of Arinobu Fukuhara and the company’s first president. An experienced photographer, Shinzo Fukuhara combined artistry with high quality manufacturing, underpinned by the very latest in research and development, to establish Shiseido as a unique...