Japanese nail artist empowers Khaleeji women with unique designs

Swirling optical illusions. Cathedral-style stained glass in rainbow hues. Pearl-studded hearts and stars. A Dubai resident is taking nail art to sharp new levels.

Meet Hikaru Morishita, 29, who has touched the hearts (and hands) of women across the GCC.

Thanks to her unique and durable designs, created using the encapsulated technique, the former corporate professional from Japan has become a sought-after nail artist, with women from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain all requesting her services.

Dissatisfied with the overpriced and subpar work offered at some salons she visited, Morishita took matters into her own hands, quite literally. “I bought this acrylic kit from Amazon. It was about Dh140, and I started to apply it on myself and realised, actually, I’m pretty good at doing nails,” she says.

Experimenting with various designs, Morishita found used her background in illustration to create stunning encapsulated nails that set her apart.

Word of her skill quickly spread after an Instagram post advertising her services and soon, she found herself fully booked with clients clamouring for her designs.

Reem, one of her regular Emirati clients, tells The National: “I always recommend her work because it’s something unique; it’s not something you can find anywhere in the GCC, full stop. You’re getting the quality you’re paying for and you’re also getting something fully customised for you.”

It was Morishita’s proficiency in Japanese and English that initially landed her a corporate job offer in Dubai in 2016. She says that although she was not even sure exactly where Dubai is located, she took the chance to embark on a new journey and make a name for herself in the region.

Her nail art career can be traced back to a series of encounters in malls, where the eye-catching design on her own nails caught the attention of fellow shoppers.

“Every time I went out, random girls would stop me in the elevator and in the mall, and say: ‘Oh, my god, who did your nails?’ I realised, sooner or later, I will end up doing nail art for other people.”

Juggling a 9-to-5 office job and a flourishing nail-art career became increasingly challenging, so Morishita decided to bid the former farewell and embraced the freedom to travel and fulfil her artistic passion.

One of the hallmarks of her nail artistry is her dedication to individuality. Morishita says she never duplicates a design and is able to incorporate each client’s preferences, be it a favourite character such as Hello Kitty, or an outlandish request such as centipedes and other insects.

“I don’t duplicate because every person is different,” she explains. “Even if 10 girls ask me for Hello Kitty-inspired pink nails, I make sure they are not identical. It comes naturally to me to come up with something original to represent each client’s personality.”

She says her work has mainly struck a chord with Khaleeji women, who appreciate how her nail art “empowers them to break free from the conventional norms of society”.

As Reem puts it: “It took a while for me to find my style and break out of my shell, and it wasn’t easy. We come from this background where we all have to be the same.”

Morishita’s artistry makes room for individuality, allowing women to stand out from the crowd and enjoy an enhanced sense of identity.

As her popularity continues to soar, Morishita harbours dreams of taking her nail artistry across the globe and envisions herself catering to clients in America and Europe.

Updated: August 01, 2023, 8:05 AM

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