“When Nagase Tomiro opened his first Western sundries shop in Tokyo in 1887, cosmetic soap used for the face and body was not commonly seen in the average Japanese household, and in Japan neither hand washing nor hair washing was the general custom that each is today.”
“Historically, the oldest ‘shampoo’ [in Japan] is said to be the water left over after washing rice. The original ‘shampoo soap’ was first introduced by Kao in 1932 … the first company in Japan to sell a product under the name ‘shampoo’ [シャンプー].
“It was called shampoo, but it looked like a bar of soap. [laughter] You could break it into powder and mix it with water to create lather. Compared to what the people had been using to wash their body and hair, just the fact that this soap was specifically for the hair caught people’s attention. It lathered up well and smelled lovely, so the difference in the end result was night and day. From what I understand, it became well-known among the wealthy, then spread from there.”
– “‘From Baby’s First Bath’: Kaō Soap and Modern Japanese Commercial Design”, by Gennifer Weisenfeld, The Art Bulletin, Sept. 2004
[Translation from the back of the postcard:]
“Modern Hair Washing Powder is made from pure olive oil, from the passionate country of Spain, and heat-balanced coriander oil which can be used to wash hair lightly and quickly without damaging the beauty of your hair. Not only does it prevent the hair from breaking but it also nourishes the hair roots, so you can use with confidence and peace of mind.
“It is sold at Shufu-no-tomosha‘s bookstore, department stores, and national cosmetic stores.”
Modern Shampoo Bookstore – Tokyo Kuzuhara [Shinagawa] Industrial Park
Note: Shufu-no-tomo [“Housewife’s Friend”] was a women’s magazine, first published in 1917 by Ishikawa Takemi, that would go on to become Japan’s largest-selling pre-war women’s lifestyle magazine.