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Critical design in JapanMaterial culture, luxury, and the avant-garde$
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Ory Bartal

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526139979

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526139986

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Mujirushi Ryohin and the absence of style

Mujirushi Ryohin and the absence of style

(p.124) 4 Mujirushi Ryohin and the absence of style
Critical design in Japan

Ory Bartal

Manchester University Press

This chapter presents the Japanese lifestyle brand Mujirushi Ryohin (known as Muji), which sells simple, starkly functional objects in natural colours while eschewing decorative values and unnecessary patterns and details. This company’s basic, plain, timeless products do not change with the seasons or from year to year. The products stress use value and functionality as an alternative to the logic of changing fashions – one of the pillars of late consumer culture, which renders products inherently obsolescent. Mujirushi Ryohin’s products are discussed as a part of the Anti-Branding and No-Logo movements that emerged in Europe and in the United States in the 1980s, in opposition to the ‘the society of the spectacle’ and the ideology and social power of late capitalism and consumer culture.

Keywords:   Mujirushi Ryohin, Muji, Super Normal design, Zen design, No-logo, Fukasawa Naoto, Hara Kenya, Koike Kazuko, Tanaka Ikkō, Ecological design

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