City of Brushes – Yes, Makeup Brushes!

Kumano Brush Festival. Courtesy of GetHiroshima

Kumano Brush Festival. Courtesy of GetHiroshima

The town of Kumano, in the prefecture of Hiroshima, Japan, is responsible for 80 percent of all brushes manufactured in Japan, including calligraphy brushes, paint brushes and makeup brushes.

The people there have been making brushes since the early 19th Century, and they even have an annual brush festival.

Master brush maker Tesshu Takemori, who talked to the NYT earlier this year, leads a team of artisans at his company, Chikuhodo, in making some of the highest-quality makeup brushes in the world. His clients include Shiseido (maker of the most awesome “Perfect” Foundation Brush), RMK and Kose.

It is likely that he also makes them for Shiseido-owned NARS, maker of the seemingly constantly sold-out or back-ordered NARS Ita Kabuki Brush No. 21.

NARS Ita brush. $39. If you can find one ...

NARS Ita brush. $39. If you can find one …

Almost everything is done by hand by his 100 employees, women in pink smocks and men in blue work jackets, the NYT says. The employees use a dangerous tool called a hanzashi, which looks like a uniquely shaped razor blade, to craft their brushes.

Shiseido "Perfect" Foundation Brush

Shiseido “Perfect” Foundation Brush. $30.

The Japanese are very serious about the craft of brush-making. Which is why renowned makeup artist Wayne Goss is also reportedly having his brush collection made here, by Chikuhodo, according to beauty gossip. Or maybe it’s Hakuhodo? …

As part of a beautiful tradition, the Japanese even preserve a small bit of their children’s hair in a beautiful memento brush, usually with a long handle, called Aka-Chan Fude.

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