Less is more as Japanese minimalist movement grows

Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:16am EDT
 
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By Megumi Lim

TOKYO (Reuters) - Fumio Sasaki's one-room Tokyo apartment is so stark friends liken it to an interrogation room. He owns three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and a meager scattering of various other items.

Money isn't the issue. The 36-year-old editor has made a conscious lifestyle choice, joining a growing number of Japanese deciding that less is more.

Influenced by the spare aesthetic of Japan's traditional Zen Buddhism, these minimalists buck the norm in a fervently consumerist society by dramatically paring back their possessions.

Sasaki, once a passionate collector of books, CDs and DVDs, became tired of keeping up with trends two years ago.

"I kept thinking about what I did not own, what was missing," he said.

He spent the next year selling possessions or giving them to friends.

"Spending less time on cleaning or shopping means I have more time to spend with friends, go out, or travel on my days off. I have become a lot more active," he said.

Others welcome the chance to own only things they truly like - a philosophy also applied by Mari Kondo, a consultant whose "KonMari" organizational methods have swept the United States.   Continued...

 
Minimalist Saeko Kushibiki stores away her futon mattress in her apartment in Fujisawa, south of Tokyo, Japan, March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter