“As a working mother in Japan, I’ve been juggling work and family for a couple of years now. I’m a Japanese make-up artist. I work with professional models for fashion magazines, TV, etc. It sounds so cool with all the glitz and glamour, but it’s an industry notorious for a grueling work schedule. That’s why most women doing this job either never find a partner to get married to or quit once they start a family. Most of the time you have to be onsite at different locations early in the morning until late at night. Luckily, I found a way to form my own small cosmetics company. Although it wasn’t easy. After four years of college, trying to become a Japanese language teacher to foreigners, I realized my passion was in the beauty industry. So I worked for a major Japanese cosmetics company, then took it a step further by studying abroad in America. After all, it was my childhood dream to do stage makeup for musicals.

“My boyfriend then (now my husband) was waiting in Japan, so I came back home after graduating. But when I applied for a job, I was told I had to start from the bottom by becoming someone’s assistant first. It didn’t matter that I had years of actual work experience (I was a make-up instructor at my first job) and got certified in LA with a cosmetology license. I still had to start as an assistant. It’s weird since I would be assisting someone close to my age with almost the same skills, and I’d have to address them using honorifics or very polite language. What if a slip of the tongue caused me to disagree with them or, worse, say something casually that could be seen as disrespectful? That’s unthinkable in our culture.

“So good thing my application got rejected. I was hurt but I’m thankful for what they said during the interview: ‘You shouldn’t be an assistant’. In hindsight, I think they meant I was overqualified. That really motivated me and I started building clientele from contacts and connections. Producers, models, people that I’ve worked with in the past heard I was freelancing, and so asked me to do small jobs until I had a customer base. Now I even have my own office and I also help young, aspiring up-comers who want to follow my example. So I offer internships, too. I believe in creating an environment where women can thrive and have work-life-balance, so your family and friends don’t have to be sacrificed.”

Hanaco Ishii’s makeup studio Decorus Beauty

働くママとして奮闘し、数年経ちました。ファッション雑誌や広告など、プロのモデルやアーティストのメイクアップをしている メイクアップアーティストです。とても華やかでカッコいい世界と思われがちですが、過酷なスケジュールも多くて有名な業界です。(実際華やかな面も多いですが。)そのせいか、このヘアメイク業界で働く20代・30代の多くは結婚をしたいと思っても両立が難しく結婚を選ばなかったり、結婚してもこの仕事を続けている人がとても少ないのが現状です。子供が居るメイクアップアーティストはとても日本では少ないんですよ。なかなか理解してくれるパートナーを見つけるのも難しいと思います。土日平日、早朝や深夜など関係なく仕事がある世界ですからね。幸いにも私は理解あるパートナーと家族が居て、自分自身でメイクアップアーティストとしても独立しメイク道具を取り扱う会社を起業出来たので、結婚出産をしキャリアを良いバランスで継続出来ています。

ここまでの経緯は、少し一般的なルートとは違いました。東京女子大学 文学部での4年間の後、副専攻していた日本語教員にも憧れましたが、いつか化粧品を作りたいという思いがあり化粧品メーカーに正社員として入社しました。そこで、メイク技術をはじめ、皮膚学やエステなどの基礎を学び美容インストラクターとして働きました。しかし、もっと違う世界でメイクアップをしたいと考えるようになり、会社を退職し特殊メイクを学びに単身ハリウッドへメイク留学へ。子供の頃からミュージカルが大好きでステージメイクや映画のメイクをやりたいという夢がそうさせたのです。そして卒業後は当時の恋人(現在の夫)が日本で待っていてくれたので、帰国し結婚しました。(その後、2017年に出産をし母となりました。)





Published by


Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s