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ARSOA Keio Group: Bridging beauty, wellness and nature for a holistic lifestyle

Article - February 6, 2024

Exploring the confluence between Japanese cosmetics, water purifiers and inner beauty.

“The greatest strength shared by all Japanese companies in the chemical and beauty industries,” ARSOA Keio Group president Reiko Takiguchi explains, “is their unwavering commitment to quality and safety.”

And ARSOA, which was first established in the early 1970s, is no different in this regard.

The company, which sets itself apart from competitors by focusing on traditional retail methods over e-commerce, is perhaps best known for its flagship product, Queen Silver Soap, which was first introduced to the market more than half a century ago.

Ms. Takiguchi adds: “This exceptional soap, enriched with naturally sourced minerals and charcoal, is the result of an intricate 70-day production process, marked by the meticulous selection of materials it incorporates.”

Nor, she continues, is it the only product that stands out among the company’s much vaunted line-up. She cites the group’s clay pack, sourced from Hokkaido, which easily adheres to the skin thanks to its fine particle composition and is extracted in its pure, naturally preserved state.

The mention of Hokkaido is no coincidence here.

“Our entire product line-up,” Ms. Takiguichi states, “is grounded in the concept of harnessing exquisite natural raw materials from different regions of Japan to create high-quality products.”

The use of water, naturally, is key, and Ms. Takiguchi is keen to emphasize the company’s commitment to incorporating it into its products, thereby highlighting its significance in our daily routines.

Even so, despite being highly regarded for its manufacture of cosmetics products and standing proud as Japan’s leading water purifier manufacturer, change is in the air.

Partly this is a result of the country’s well documented demographic crisis, which has caused the birth rate to dwindle and the domestic labor market to shrink.

Mostly, however, it is the natural consequence of a company rebrand that has seen three previously separate firms – AOB Keio Group, ARSOA Honsha and Biokura Shokuyo Honsha respectively – merge to form one.

“Since the merger in 2021,” Ms. Takaguchi explains, “our vision has expanded beyond cosmetics and makeup; now we aspire to promote a better lifestyle and raise awareness about factors such as nutrition, sleep and fitness. And while we are looking to target Southeast Asian countries that are geographically close to us and share an understanding of the appeal of Japanese products, in regions like the U.S. and Europe, we must do more than introduce our final products. Being a company solely focused on product releases is no longer enough.”

Instead, ARSOA Keio Group is aiming to sell a way of life. From its base in Yamanashi, a region of breathtaking natural beauty, the group will leverage its exceptional surroundings to advocate healthy living and longevity, sharing its knowledge of Japan’s rich cultural heritage and cuisine to encourage consumers to reflect on their lives, goals and future.

Ms. Takiguchi resumes: “My vision is to share the magic of our ingredients, products and the water we use in every step of our production process with everyone, whether from Japan or beyond, who visits our company in Kobuchisawa, Yamanashi prefecture.”

In time, she admits, it may be that such an innovative approach transcends the need for makeup and cosmetic products, but that is in line with the company’s stated aim to offer consumers more than mere products; to extend beyond ‘mono’ – products or things – and encompass ‘koto’, signifying action, activity, and attitude.