Kitao History Started in 1919

This is who we are

Kitao has a rich history starting over 100 years ago in 1919.

Initial Period:
To begin, after the turn of the 19th century in Japan, new technology abounded and there was rapid industrial growth. This led to a new problem in beauty - the pollution from the new plants caused skin dullness and accelerated aging. (We know now that is free radical damage.) So, Nakayama Taiyodo, cosmetic maker, worked with chemist Kunishiro Kawabata. Together, they created a nourishing beauty cream and Kitao Cosmetics company was born.

Kunishiro got private funding to bring the cosmetics to market. These men believed strongly not only in the products they created, but that the trust of the customer would be paramount to the success of the business. Wanting a personal touch with the customer, they didn’t go through a wholesaler and directly dealt with the leading stores in the region. There were some inefficiencies, but the strong relationships built with a quality product grew the company quickly.


Mid Period:
World War 2 ravaged many businesses, and Kitao needed to start from scratch after losing everything, including an overseas factory in China. Our founders built the brand “Robin” under the Kitao Cosmetics name.

Not only was Robin a trendy, fashion-forward brand, but Kitao started making products for other companies through OEM to help other companies grow.

Since then, Kitao has supported countless skincare brands by creating quality products for their line, and focuses on products that help make people’s mind and body better.

Late Period - Now:

After the success of the Robin brand, we pioneered multiple supermarket and beauty salon offerings, including the high end Saint Laurent brand, and our Swan Skincare brand. KITAO exported Swan Skincare to the middle east, and had such a following it was imitated frequently.
In 1988 our CEO received an award from the Osaka Governor Sakae Kishi for his efforts in pharmaceutical health and hygiene. 
To celebrate our 100 year anniversary, KITAO Cosmetics launched our KITAO MATCHA skincare line in 2019 to celebrate our long history, and honor our Japanese roots and culture as we came to an American market.

We look forward to wonderful things to come over the next 100 years!