Hiroki Kawase

Specialty Chemicals Dept., AminoScience Division

Please tell us about your current work.

I’m mainly involved in the marketing and sales of amino acid-based surfactants such as Amisoft®, Amilite®, and CAE®, an amino acid-based cationic surfactant used in hand-sanitizing products and in the medical field as well. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CAE® has been attracting a great deal of attention worldwide due to its superior antibacterial properties while still being gentle on the skin. I’m also responsible for maintaining RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certification by conducting internal audits for suppliers, affiliates, factories, and warehouses around the globe.

Why did you first become interested in skincare products?

It all began one day when my uncle, who worked for a cosmetics manufacturer, brought some samples of various skincare products to a family gathering. I witnessed how the women present were so delighted, and I realized that having beautiful skin can lead to a sense of personal fulfillment. Our skin—the largest human organ, making up approximately 16% of our body weight—is closely related to our state of mind.

What motivates you about working with these products?

In addition to COVID-19, social and environmental changes, including global warming, have contributed to an increase in the number of skin-related issues consumers have been experiencing in recent years. By delivering our amino acids to people worldwide in a sustainable manner, we’re striving to achieve outcomes such as enabling consumers to be themselves, stay positive, and keep a healthy mind. I truly believe that we’re contributing to greater wellness for people worldwide and I feel honored to be a part of it.

How is your work meaningful to you personally?

I was suffering from dry skin because of regular mask-wearing during COVID-19, and even my two-year-old daughter’s hands were chapped due to frequent use of hand sanitizers. However, after switching our face wash and hand soap to Ajinomoto Co.’s amino acid-based surfactant products, our skin regained its moisture and improved dramatically. I was impressed by how powerful and yet gentle amino acids are on the skin, and I experienced firsthand how having better skin promotes overall physical wellness and leads to a fulfilled soul.

Please tell us about any future goals you would like to achieve at the Ajinomoto Group.

My current challenge is to gain a deeper insight into the needs of global cosmetics and toiletry manufacturers, who are in closer contact with consumers, by improving our customer satisfaction surveys. Also, with the goal of helping fight COVID-19 around the world, we’re working with the Ajinomoto Group’s Research Institute for Bioscience Products & Fine Chemicals to obtain new antiviral data for CAE® to assist in the development of more effective hand soap formulations using Amilite®. Highly suitable for a range of cosmetic products, CAE® is a very safe ingredient that, unlike most cationic surfactants, is also biodegradable. Given the strong growth in demand for our products, we’re coordinating our efforts with affiliates in Japan and overseas to acquire new customers and ensure a stable supply chain for existing customers.