T ▪ House

The Book Behind the Beauty

The Book Behind the Beauty

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the book that became the foundation for TATCHA’s philosophy and formulas – a slim, three-volume set called “Miyakofuzoku kewaiden,” or, “Capital Beauty and Style Handbook.”

Written in the Edo Period, it is one of the earliest guides on style and grooming, and therefore, one of the primary references for geisha. I first heard whispers about these books from geisha I met while researching the products that would eventually form the foundation of TATCHA’s skin care ritual. The techniques they described were time-tested but rarely written down or shared beyond the wall’s of the geisha house. Geisha are serious about keeping secrets, even their phone numbers and addresses are not listed and must be procured through several intermediaries.

As I began my search for this book, I learned that very few people even knew of its existence, and that only a few written copies still exist. I turned to museums, hoping to find some documentation or clues about how to find it. Months later, a researcher and I tracked it down in an antique bookstore.

When I finally held the book in my hands, I could barely breathe from excitement. Its whisper-thin pages danced with delicate calligraphy, recording centuries of secrets – most of which remain startlingly relevant in our modern times.

The journey to find the book, and the path on which it would take me, have been some of the most formative events of my life. Looking back on the calls and visits, and even the frustration each time it did not materialize, I am filled with gratitude for every moment…


Victoria Signature

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

Published November 21, 2013
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