Uguisu No Fun Nightingale Feces
March 11, 2012 by staff
Uguisu No Fun Nightingale Feces, Uguisu no fun, which literally means “nightingale feces” in Japanese, refers to the excrement (fun) produced by a particular nightingale called the Japanese bush warbler (Cettia diphone) (uguisu). The droppings have been used in facials since ancient Japanese times. Recently, the product has been used in the Western world.
This facial has been referred to as the “Geisha Facial”. The facial is supposed to lighten the skin and balance skin tones that have acne or sun damage.
The use of nightingale excrement dates back to the Heian period (A.D. 794 – 1185) where it was introduced to the Japanese by the Koreans. The Koreans used the guano to remove dye from kimono fabric which allowed them to make intricate designs on the clothing. The Japanese used the bird droppings to remove stains from silk garments, like kimonos.
Then, during the Edo period (A.D. 1603-1868), the Japanese expanded the use by using it as a beauty treatment. Some sources, however, report that as early as the 3rd century, Japanese women rubbed bags of rice bran on their faces and used nightingale droppings to whiten the skin. Geishas and Kabuki actors used heavy white makeup that contained zinc and lead, which could have caused skin diseases and other issues. Uguisu no fun was used to thoroughly remove the makeup and whiten and even the skin. Also, Buddhist monks used the droppings to polish and clean their bald scalps.
Currently, Hyakusuke is the last place in Tokyo to have the government-approved uguisu no fun. This two-hundred year old cosmetic shop carries the powder along with other cosmetic products.
Modern day use of uguisu no fun in Japan may be attributed to a respect for the ancestral tradition as well as the innovative culture of Japan.
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