While its shape has changed over the years, the moon-shaped logo that is used to symbolize beauty and cleanliness continues to be the Kao corporate logo.
In 1887, Kao founder, Tomiro Nagase, opened Nagase Shoten, a Western sundry goods shop that would later become Kao. Taking inspiration from the moon and star logos that were printed on imported pencils sold at Nagase Shoten, Tomiro created Kao’s very first logo in 1890.
The very first Kao logo used on the label for Kao Sekken (Kao Soap).
The moon’s face, which had faced right in the position of a waning moon, was changed to face left, in the position of a new moon. This is because a new moon grows into a full moon and is considered to be a symbol of good luck.
The face in the moon was changed from a man’s to a woman’s, and the top and bottom tips of the moon were connected in a round silhouette. This change was intended to help products and advertising leave a stronger impression with consumers.
The face in the moon became a child’s face to create a sense of familiarity and trust with consumers, and the color was changed to orange.
The corporate name was changed from Kao Soap Co., Ltd. to Kao Corporation. The corporate color was changed to green to symbolize freshness and dynamism.
Kao’s name was changed from kanji characters (花王) to English (Kao) to create a global corporate image. Today, the moon logo with “Kao” written in English is used by the Consumer Products business in Japan and Asia, and the global Chemical business.
“Kao,” without the moon logo, is used as the corporate logo for the Kao Group around the world.