Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Beauty Then Beauty Now: Ancient Japan

Hey Cuties, this time in our Cutie Time-Machine were going to ancient Japan to see just how ancient Japan did there thing. Now naturally there is gonna be things that are going to blow your mind. So please, prepare yourself. I for one, am very excited to be going to Japan as the fact stands that I love Japan and I find their culture very diverse and very interesting. Without further ado, buckle up for the ride Cuties!

 Every Cutie aboard?Come on and squeeze into the Cutie Time-Machine as we go to Japan in the Kofun period (years 300-710 roughly).

Around this time all the cosmetics like rouges and powders were flowing into Japan along with some of the cultural aspects along with it with China and Korea. Especially that during this time there was a lot of immigrants from China and Korea were some very important figures. It is said that in 692 a Buddhist priest said to be named Kanjo made the first lead based white face powder. Which is extremely, extremely dangerous Cuties. Naturally, the empress was delighted with this innovation. It was very much main stream culture at the time in Asian countries that a white face was considered very beautiful.

Let's flash forward to Heian period in Japan,and see how much has changed in a couple of hundred years Cuties(roughly 794-1185).

After the suspensions on embassies from Tang China, Japan started to develop its own style and sensibility. Women wore white faces plucked their eyebrows and repainted them higher with black powder, closer to the hairline then to the actually brow bone these were called "butterfly eyebrows". Yikes I say.  The typical "beautiful" woman would have a pouty mouth, a thin nose and round apple cheeks. They also drew bright red rose buds filled into their lips. Over their natural lips. Doesn't that sound like fun though Cuties? Also during this period, women tried to grow out their hair as long as physically possible, the record holder during this period grew her hair to 23ft, 23 feet of hair, talk about dedication, and this happened with no hair care products what so ever. Ah-mazing.

Let's all hop into the Time-Machine again to the Edo period in Japan,at this point Japan is starting to get into the swing of things. Kind of (roughly years 1600-1868).

During the Edo period, there was intricate and treatises on how a women should properly use her makeup. During this period, there was three colors in their go to's: red for lips and nail polish, white for their faces and black for blackening their teeth, and for their eyebrows. Yes, blackening of the teeth, I'll come back to that in a minute. The women of the Edo period were especially considered with having a white face because at the time it was said that a light face conceals seven other defects. Talk about wanting to look like a doll Cuties. This white look was commonly achieved by dissolving a lead based pigment in water and applying it with hands or a broad flat brush. I can't imagine how one goes about master a technique for that, but this is coming from the girl who is yet to perfect a smokey eye. Moving along. The pigment for the rouge was mostly made of safflowers and applied to the lips, cheek, and nails. To achieve a look of refinement you were required to have a steady hand. Although later in the Edo period the heavier application on lips made pigment made from fresh safflowers worth its weight in gold so to speak.
Now were back to it, the whole blackening of the teeth. According to my research the blackening of the teeth was an established rite of passage and was firmly in place in this period as a sign of marital status. 

Finally, we are slowly getting into the modern era for Japan,this has definitely been getting interesting,let's see what else Japanese women have in store for us Cuties in the Meiji period(roughly 1870-1904).

Thankfully Cuties at this time, an official government decree of the third year of the Meiji period outlawed blackening your teeth and shaving your eyebrows off among the population. And after Empress Meiji herself stopped the practice, the women of the Meiji period soon followed suit, slowly but surely. In fantastic news, at least it was to me when I read it, was that around 1877 concerns about over lead poising inspired the people of Japan to get to work on a lead-free face powder which was finally brought to the market in 1907. I could finally breathe a sigh of relief Cuties; can you imagine if Japan was still like that today? WOAH.

Skipping a couple of more years forward, Japan is now rolling fast towards the modern era. Finally were almost back home Cuties, it's been such a fun ride!Let's dive into the Taish period( roughly 1912-1926).

Of course, by now, the times were a changin' and the women of Japan were working toward their rights in society and the workplace. So, convenient makeup and cosmetics to help the girls out were in production. Face powders began being sold in several different shades then the traditional white, probably not nearly as much as today but hey, were getting there! Also, tube lipsticks started to gain popularity using other pigments and dyes as opposed to the traditional safflower based rouge. Vanishing creams, cold creams, and emulsions started to pop up, makeup started becoming increasingly westernized by the 1910's and up. Yay Japan! Yay globalization!

And we're finally here Cuties, the Modern Era(1950's-now), let's wrap this all up in a cute bow!

At this time, Japan was heavily influenced by American mass media. In 1954 pancake makeup was introduced to Japan from the US and after that makeup became main stream officially in Japan. Sigh. All is right with the world Cuties! In the 1960's the trend shifted to focus on the eyes and mouth and starting around 1975 fads like the surfer look were all over Japan and the women of Japan started getting their eyebrows on fleek. Perfect. Eyebrows that every Cutie wants today. Yup, you too Japanese Cuties!
So, Japan has had quite an interesting turn around since it first got introduced to makeup. None the less it goes to show that trying to fit society's need only takes you so far, so yes do your eyebrows just perfect and kill that sharp cat eye but stay true to what you love to play around with too. After all, in a couple of hundred years or a thousands future Cuties might be as confused as we were about blackening of the teeth. I still can't get over that Cuties.

Anyways were finally all back home, and ready to go, I hope you enjoyed this trip with me and let me know if there's anywhere you Cuties want to go next!

Until next time Cuties(:

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And remember,Stay Cute,Stay You.

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