TOKYO - Previously, it was TV drama Winter Sonata that captivated middle-aged and elderly Japanese women. But now, it"s teenage girls and women in their 20s who are at the center of a cultural wave known as Hallyu. These women use social media to adopt South Korean makeup and fashion trends.
South Korean cosmetic chain Etude House opened a major store in 2016 on the bustling Takeshita-dori avenue in Tokyo"s Harajuku district. Young women stream into the store, which sells popular South Korean products such as vivid-colored lip tint and cushion foundation to create dewy skin.
A 17-year-old high school student in Tokyo said: "The cosmetics sold here have vivid colors that are not seen in Japanese cosmetics. The cute look (they create) is nice on social media."
More and more people are paying attention to Koreanstyle olchang (beauty) makeup, to create a look with bright and clear skin, thick eyebrows and vivid-colored lips.
Etude House opened seven stores in 2017 in the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Kansai region.
Rina Matsui, the brand general manager of Amorepacific"s Etude division in Japan, said: "There are many young people who enjoy using unusual makeup colors just for fun. They are also affordable."
The presence of South Korean-made cosmetics has increased in the Japanese market. According to the Japan Cosmetic Industry Association, imports from South Korea amounted to about 17.4 billion yen ($ 154.82 million) in 2016 - an increase of 30 percent or more on the previous year.
Brightly colored clothes
South Korean fashion brand Stylenanda opened a Harajuku outlet in May last year, also on Takeshita-dori. Stylenanda, which sells women"s clothes and cosmetics, held a fashion show in autumn as part of the Tokyo Girls Collection event, which is popular with young women.
"South Korean fashion and pop culture are striking a chord with the social media generation," said Kota Maruyama, the general manager of Shibuya109 Entertainment"s marketing strategy headquarters.
About 20 South Korean brands making their debut in Japan were on display until late December at the building"s event sales section. Customers were mainly teenagers.
"Young people learn about new brands introduced to Japan via social media," Maruyama said, adding, "They are brightly colored and affordable and have all the elements that attract young people."
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