Kumano brushes are famous cosmetic tool in the world


Kumano brushes, traditional brushes with a 200-year history

Kumano brushes are produced in Kumano Town, Hiroshima Prefecture. Animal hairs such as goat, horse, raccoon dog, deer, and cat are used for the brush’s earhead. Various types of brushes are made based on traditional techniques, including calligraphy brushes, painting brushes, and cosmetic brushes.


  • The use of rice husk ashes for the fire and furring of the bristles.
  • Kneading is a process of mixing wool.
  • The use of hemp threads for the thread clamping process.

These processes are the technical requirements of the Kumano brush. Kumano brushes made only in Kumano Town, Aki-gun, Hiroshima Prefecture, are recognized as a traditional craft designatedby the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In fact, the Kumano brush has recently gained a very presence as a cosmetic brush.

They have a pleasant texture that only natural hair can provide, and they are extremely smooth because the tips are not cut at all. Kumano brush powder brushes are made of natural animal hair and have a lot of bristles, so they contain powder well and put it on your skin smoothly.

Also, the tips of the bristles are not cut, so cosmetics (whether powder or liquid) can enter between the bristles and be held firmly in place. And the moment the tip of the Kumano brush touches your skin, it places the cosmetic product on your skin thinly, widely, and evenly. Since the Kumano brush performs this function, you do not need to be a professional makeup artist to apply makeup easily and beautifully.

Kumano brushes are highly trusted among makeup artists, even outside Japan!

Kumano brush for makeup
Anny Internet shop

Hstory of Kumano Brushes

At the end of the Edo period, villagers in Kumano who could not make a living only by farming went to Nara and Hyogo prefectures to work as migrant laborers, taking advantage of the time when they were free from agricultural work. They would then purchase brushes and ink brushes in the areas where they were working, and return to Kumano as peddlers. This process was repeated, and eventually people who had learned brush-making techniques in the regions returned to Kumano and spread the brush-making skills among the villagers.

In 1872 (Meiji 5), when the school system started, brushes became popular as writing instruments, and Kumano brushes became known throughout the country. However, after the end of World War II, calligraphy education, which had flourished until then, was restricted. The brush industry was in decline due in part to a slump in general demand for brushes. The cosmetic and painting brushes found a way out of this situation. In particular, Kumano’s cosmetic brushes, with their soft and delicate texture, have come to be highly valued.

 Manufacturing Process

There are three processes: Preliminary work,” “Main work,” and “Finishing.

Preliminary work 

(1) Selection of bristles and hair assembly 

Brush making begins with the selection of bristles. Materials are selected, and the length and quality are matched according to where the brush tip will be used. A tuft of wool is picked up and sorted one by one. It is a very precise process that is said to require several decades of experience to be able to distinguish the materials with certainty.

The materials are combined according to the type of brush to be made, such as large brushes, medium-sized brushes, small brushes, and brushes with long or short tips. 

(2) Hi-no-shi, Kemomi (rubbing of the

The selected bristles go through a process called kemomi. Kemomi removes fat and dirt from the animal hair to improve the quality of the hair. This is an important process that improves the ink’s absorption. The hair is cut to a certain length and sprinkled with rice husk ash. Then, a hot hi-no-shi is applied to it. The time and temperature of the hi-no-shi are adjusted slightly according to the type of hair.

The hairs are then quickly wrapped around the deerskin, and rubbed in carefully so as not to break the hairs. The heat and rubbing removes fat and dirt.

(3) Aligning the hair 

After removing the hairs from the skewer, the hairs are stacked one by one in small quantities and then aligned. The hairs are then combed repeatedly to straighten them out. 

(4) Removing back hairs and stray

The tips of the hairs are perfectly aligned, and the back hairs and stray hairs are removed with a small knife, using the feel of the fingertips. Only the best hairs are thoroughly selected. 

(5) Sun-giri 

The tip of the brush is divided into five parts. The tip of the brush is divided into five parts: the tip of the hair, the throat, the middle part, the shoulder, the belly near the base, and the waist at the very base. The “sunkiri” is the process of adjusting the size of the hairs according to these five locations. A piece of wood is placed on top of the hairs with the measurements of each area, and the hairs are trimmed with the tip of the hairs as the standard. The hairs are gradually trimmed while repeatedly checking to make sure that the cuts are precisely aligned. The hairs are then cut into clumps called kure. 

Kumano brush
Source: Kogei Japan


Main work

In the Main work process, the prepared clumps are actually assembled into the tip of the brush, which is called the “head. 

(6) Kneading

Kneading is the process of soaking the bristles in water and preparing them so that they will not be unevenly mixed. The bristles are broken up into chunks, stretched thin, and folded back and forth to mix them together. The hairs are then trimmed and combed. The hairs are then hardened with nunonori (laver), and gathered together into flat pieces. 

(7) Shin-Date 

In the shintate process, the kneaded Hirameshi is divided into pieces to form the shape of a brush. The core is split from the flat grain and passed through a barrel called a koma to form the shape of the brush. Unnecessary hairs are removed by hand. 

(8) Koromoge-Maki 

The hair that is wrapped around the core of the brush is called koromoge-maki. The hair used for the Koromoge-maki is of a higher quality than that used for the core. Koromoge-maki is kneaded, mixed, and prepared through the same process as the core hairs called Hirime, and then wrapped around the core hairs. Wrapping the hair around the core requires a particularly high level of skill. The beautifully coiled earlobe is left to dry naturally. The base of the dried garment is then wrapped with hemp yarn. 

(9) Ito-Jime

The knot of the yarn is tightened by applying a burning iron to the knot to complete the head. 

Kumano brush
Osaka Kyozai.com


Finishing work

(10) Kurikomi 

Kurikomi is the process of attaching the head to the brush tube. The brush tube is made of cherry or bamboo. The brush tube shaft is rotated on the kurikomi table, and the tip of the brush is shaved evenly on the inside so that it can be easily inserted.

(11) Finishing 

In order to preserve the life of the tip of the brush, the glue is hardened. The tip of the brush is thoroughly covered with glue by tapping it against the tip. Unnecessary glue is removed by threading. Wrap the hemp thread around the tip and squeeze out the glue while turning the shaft. 

(12) Engraving of the inscription 

After the brush has dried naturally enough, each studio engraves a name on the brush to complete the process.

kumano brush
Source: HKDS Store



Kumano brushes are now world-renowned as cosmetic brushes. Once used, the smoothness and ease with which makeup is applied have made some celebrities and makeup artists unable to part with their brushes. Kumano brushes are not cheap as cosmetics, but they are worth it. Not only can you buy one for your own use, but they also make great gifts for women or anyone who needs makeup.


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