MUD in Japan: the Katsura Beauty and Grand Prix

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Sean Conklin at work

Once a year, for the past six years, Takashi and a group of students from Katsura fly to Los Angeles to participate in a three-week beauty (or beauty and character) course designed especially for their class. For the past two years, I’ve been given the opportunity to be a guest judge for the K-BAG (Katsura Beauty and Grand Prix) and platform demonstrator for my former students in the great city of Osaka.

Every year the students have eight months to design and prep for the K-BAG. The K-BAG is a competition that is broken into different subjects that Katsura Make-up Design College teaches. The categories range from an avant-garde design in hairstyling, full composition in photography, to an overall character design which includes costume, hair, and make-up. The beautiful and eccentric designs of the students are displayed for everyone to see and the full costume designs are paraded down the runway in front of a full house of spectators. Then, the competition is followed by an emotional and well-deserved award ceremony.

During my visit, Takashi and my former students Anna, Ayumi, Ayaka, Tomomi, and Yukie showed me around Kansai. Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, are the three cities in the Kansai region of Japan’s main island of Honshu. In the beautiful city of Kyoto, we had our very own tour guide that brought us to the main areas of interest. Next, we traveled to Kobe where we walked the European quarters and saw the breathtaking 360-degree view as we stood inside the top of the Kobe tower.

On my very last day, I said farewell to the students after my character demonstration, packed my kit and headed to the airport.

Sometime during my stay, I was asked if my love of Japan had changed since my last visit. My response was; absolutely not! I adore the people, I love the food, and I am intrigued by the history and enjoy the scenery. For my second time in Japan, I had a wonderful time. I consider Japan a magical place. Thanks to my new and old friends!

— Sean Conklin

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