Tanseido was founded over 80 years ago in Kumano, Japan, with roots in calligraphy brushes they manufacture brushes for cosmetic uses (make up, face washing) as well. What differs Tanseido from other brush companies they are stamped with Made in Japan. Instead of assembling foreign-made parts in Japan, the ferules, handles etc. are sourced from local ateliers in Kumano. They also offer brush customisation and engraving.
Tanseido brushes are available in 3 colors: medium red, blue and black. I chose the blue handles as they reminded me of art classes in my childhood. In elementary school the students used cheap pony hair brushes that shed on watercolor paintings all the time. Tanseido's brushes are incomparable, but I wanted my brushes to have the same playfulness. I also them personalised with my name carved in katakana. They are gorgeously made, no stray hairs or faults in the handles. None of these brushes are overly dense.
YWS-17: Angled white goat hair brush
I have a soft spot for slanted contour and highlight brushes. Here's a total gem made of sokoho goat hair, but very very soft. Not as soft as squirrel hair brushes, but I couldn't tell the brush was mere sokoho (rough hair). I was looking for a softer alternative to Chikuhodo's G-02 and if I had payed attention to the hair grade of YWS-17 I might have skipped it! So glad I got it, very affordable for the gorgeous shape and softness. ¥4,400
YSS-17: Angled squirrel hair brush
Squirrel version of YWS-17. Not very dense which makes it perfect for picking up pigmented highlighters or even powdering your delicate under eye area. So silky soft it's like therapy for your cheekbones. ¥6,6000
YSC-17: Circle squirrel hair brush
Who doesn't love a perfectly round cheek brush? Soft and flexible, perfect for very pigmented blushes (looking at you Kevyn Aucoin Myracle) or layer the more delicate ones. A must have if you have a small face or like very precise application. ¥6,600
YAQ-17: Flat red squirrel hair brush
Not many companies have a red squirrel brush in their regular series: the hair is so rare and valuable Koyudo for example does makie red squirrel brushes only as limited editions. While my other Tanseidos have round, YAQ-17 has a flat ferule. The hairs are silky soft and quite long, but far from dense brush - the hairs sheer out even more nearing the tip, as it is slightly tapered from the sides. It doesn't have the body to buff or blend blushes, so I often use this instead of a fan brush to dust highlighter on my cheekbones. Tanseido also suggest this brush for contour and highlight. Slight dabbing or swiping works also for a sheer blush application. ¥7,700
Angled brushes comparison
YSS-17 and YWS-17 have a beautiful shape, the angle is more rounded than Chikuhodo G-02. Also the top of the two Tanseidos is 'fatter' oval than Chikuhodo G-02, which is a firm and slim angled brush. The shape of YSS-17 and YWS-17 remind me of the shape of the Shaquda Bright Up Brush which unfortunately is I've lost(!?) and can't compare today..
The two Tanseidos are more multipurpose to me and beat the Chiku in softness. YWS-17 covers more area and is very effortless to contour with, but the slimmer G-02 is better for really precisely carving out cheekbones or defining jawline.
Circle brushes comparison
I'm crazy about all these brushes: they're all great and soft squirrel hair. R-C2 is the densest and least soft, with Tanseido and Suqqu it's hard to tell the difference. They're both incredibly soft. Tanseido's ferule is the slimmest, giving it precision and spreads nice and even. The Suqqu cheek is less dense and flatter than the other 3 which are perfect circles. The Koyudo brush was a special in Kumano factory store, unfortunately I don't know if it has a name. It has the longest hair, Tanseido YSC-17 comes second with about 35mm long hair.
Tanseido is a great brush maker that deserves more attention from international fude (=brush) fans. If you prefer very dense brushes they might not be your cup of tea, but I enjoy them every single day.