Golden Beginnings

Makanai was born in 1999 as a tribute to the century-old tradition of goldbeaters manually making gold leaves at its predecessor company, Yoshitaka Gold-Leaf Foundry. The gold foundry was established in 1899 in Kanazawa, the central part of the mainland of Japan. Women who worked in Yoshitaka were exposed to harsh working conditions such as intense heat, extreme dryness and minimal ventilation while making gold leaves by labouriously pounding solid gold that are interleaved between layers of paper into microscopically-thin 1/10,000 millimeter sheets.

Natural Beauty Secrets

Like the dazzling gold leaves that the women at the foundry had spent much effort making, they wanted their skin to dazzle as well. They started thinking of ways to beautify themselves admidst the harsh environment they worked in by using their makanai (which refers to 'knowledge and supplies from the workplace or kitchen' in Japanese), such as rice bran and green tea, and Japanese washi paper used for pounding gold leaf, to formulate skin-care products by hand.

Their skin gradually became brighter and more beautiful. With more confidence to head out to the streets on their days off, these women enjoyed better times than before. 

Keeping the Tradition Alive

For over a century, the women from Yoshitaka Gold-Leaf Foundry continued to try out different ways to beautify themselves and have been putting together many natural beauty concoctions. These "Makanai beauty recipes" were collected, further researched and developed, and has since evolved into a collection of products for women to maintain their beautiful skins. This collection led to the founding of Makanai Cosme -- a brand that conveys a century's worth of Japanese beauty secrets. 

* In 2005, the Yoshitaka Gold-Leaf Foundry lowered its curtain on its history in the business of producing gold leaf, and moved to Kagurazaka in Tokyo, a district that retains some of the ambience of the Geisha world it once was. The ongoing process of making even more reliable and effective products continues there today.


Makanai’s logo was inspired by the moon rabbit. In Japanese and East Asian folklore, the moon rabbit lives on the Moon and is seen pounding rice cake in a mortar and pestle. 

With our historical origins in goldpounding at a Gold Leaf Foundry in Kanazawa, our logo shows a moon rabbit pounding gold and representing abundance of harvest, beauty and longevity. 

Makanai’s products are a collection of more than a hundred years’ worth of Japanese beauty secrets unlocked from the best harvests of Japan’s nature.