Well, when Avon first entered the Japanese market in 1969, they took their patented, thinly veiled insults about their customers' appearance and quite accidentally cranked them up to 11. Just the simple act of an Avon lady showing up at the door with her wares basically implied that the woman of the house was a dirty streetwalker. Why? Well, Japanese customers were indeed quite interested in skin care products, but a huge chunk of Avon's products were also perfumes, and to the Japanese consumer, perfume was reserved primarily for hookers.
Much like Western-style panties, strong fragrances weren't a big part of mainstream Japanese culture until the cultural invasion of the West. Because the scents were so exotic and novel, they quickly caught on with prostitutes. After being so closely and immediately associated with ladies of the night, no respectable lady would be caught dead perfuming herself -- at least not like the Westerners did. Western-style perfume immediately became the sole domain of the prostitute. And then Avon came along and tried to sell it to middle-aged suburbanites.
"This scent perfectly masks the stench of sailor sweat and cheap whiskey, which, obviously, is a concern for you ..."
The company hadn't exactly endeared itself to the Japanese people before that, either. By the mere fact that they peddled their goods door to door, Avon was considered rude and low class. The Japanese hated being interrupted in their homes by strangers (unlike ... everybody else on the planet?), so Avon's policy was quickly updated, with each Avon lady only operating on her home turf where everybody knew who she was. Then Avon got the brilliant idea to sell bath additives in Japan. This was it! The answer to all their business woes! Those crazy Japanese are always taking baths -- Don Draper, you have done it again!