Kumano brushes are admired by cosmetics brands and makeup artists around the world. The selection of the proper type is essential to enhance the function of each particular brush, so the brushes come in a variety of size, form, resilience and softness.
Hair of, such as, goat, squirrel, weasel and pony are the main types. As the characteristics of the hair depend on the body parts and the habitat of the animal, craftsmen choose hairs most suitable, and sometimes blend different kinds. With quality hair and hand crafting, high quality brushes for delicate skin are achieved.
Kumono-cho is a town in Hiroshima prefecture, and located almost in the center of the triangle formed by Hiroshima-city, Kure-city and Higashi Hiroshima-city. It is situated on high plateau surrounded with mountains as much as 500 meters high. As for the temperature, because the town belongs to coastal region turns to Seto inland sea, it is comparatively warm. It, however, is 1 to 2 degree Celsius cooler compared to flatland because the town is at 200 m elevation, and it is one of the characteristics of the town.
In the end of Edo period, residents of Kumano town were making their living by farming, but since there weren't enough farmland, many of them went out for work. While travelling, they came to know brushes. They bought brushes and ink in Arima region and went back home peddling them. Later on, they learned brush making techniques in that region. In Meiji 5th (1872), the school system was established in Japan, which increased the needs for brushes. Adding to it, because no other industries were introduced to Kumano, brush fabrication has grown as an industry to support the region. The production of brush was force to stop during World War. Kumano, however, started the production after the war, not only of traditional brushes but also paint and makeup brushes. To date, Kumano brush gathers much attention in Japan and overseas, and is designated by Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry as a traditional crafts and acquired Regional Collective Trademark.
"Kumano Fude R". This unified brand mark "K" represents the initial letter of KUMANO FUDE. The 3 lines express the world of calligraphy (black), makeup (red) and painting (yellow), and the feeling of motion in the design indicates collaboration and growth. The mark also symbolizes 3 resources to create Kumano Fude, which are "community", "people" and "tradition". The dynamism in design expresses newness and evolution. The unified brand mark on the products is aimed for easy-recognition by consumers, and differentiating from similar products such as those made in China. The mark also encourages the manufacturers to unite based on skills have been cultivated in Kumano and the quality and reliability, to pursue excellence further. All those activity is aimed to make the regional brand more robust to gain market superiority.
Because the town is situated on high plateau surrounded with mountains, it was not easy to access for the residents to other regions and therefore not many of them went outside to work. Because many of them were making brushes, the region could respond to orders for high-volume and various kinds.
It was a convenient work for those needed to stay home because it could be done at home. Because children grew up with adults who were engaged to brush making, it was easier for them to learn the work.
There were many good teachers, including traditional craftsmen in town. Other regions couldn't imitate the work because it was a skilled job. Kumano had been groomed successors.
Kumano makeup brushes are not made with cut hairs, but with hairs of finer end stringently selected. The effort makes the hair quality and the tip of brushes excellent, giving gentle fitting feeling to the skin. Simple design accompanied by pursued functionality as a makeup tool makes the brushes popular among many women. In 2011, when Nadeshiko Japan (The Japan women's national football team, earned FIFA Women's World Cup title) was presented the People's Honor Award, an extra prize to the players was Kumano brushes. The brush attracts great deal of attention now, that Kumano brush signs an OEM deal with many famous domestic and international cosmetics companies, and are used and admired by top makeup artists. Due to these efforts, Kumano succeeded in branding their brushes, and now have a 90% share of the brush in Japan.