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Cosmetics salesmen rising in feminine environment

Something unusual is happening to the feminine environment of department store cosmetics sales floors, where both customers and salespeople used to be women.

A few years ago, the number of men explaining cosmetics to and putting makeup on women have been increasing, a phenomenon caused by increases in the number of men interested in makeup and women's desire for advice from the opposite sex, industry analysts said.

Cosmetics makers hope the trend boosts sales of men's makeup, the analysts said.
Kazuki Tokunaga, 22, is the sole cosmetics salesman of Shiseido Co. assigned to the cosmetics sales floor at Takashimaya Co.'s Tamagawa department store in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo.

Two years ago, when he first appeared on the sales floor, almost all the female customers were surprised, and one of them asked, "Are you a repairman?"

But the number of his regular customers has gradually risen. "A man's advice is persuasive," one customer said.
"It is wonderful to be made up by a young man like my son," said another. A male customer said with gratitude, "I felt relieved to see you here."

Cosmetics salesmen appeared in Japan in the second half of the 1990s when U.S. brands used by models and other professionals arrived, and men were posted on sales floors as makeup artists.

At first, they were limited to Tokyo, Osaka and other major cities, but with the spread of the sales networks for such brands, salesmen have spread nationwide.

Japanese cosmetics producers began to employ men for the job in around 2000. As a result, the image that sales floors are occupied solely by women has gradually changed, and men wishing to put makeup on women have increased, enabling manufacturers to secure excellent personnel.

Shiseido began to employ men several years ago, and now, 28 are working on its cosmetics sales floors. Although that number is small compared with the total number of its employees, which is about 10,000, a public relations official said, "We will employ more if (they are) suited to the job, regardless of sex."

About 30 men are working for a subsidiary of Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. that specializes in selling its brands at department stores.
According to a foreign-affiliated cosmetics producer, there are men who quit their companies to join to become makeup specialists.