Although it may sound absurd, one of my weekly ways to decompress is to go to MUJI… I believe that every person who loves MUJI for a reason can relate! For example, the satisfying feeling of tearing off product labels without worrying about leaving any residue, the music that always slows down time when you walk into the store, or maybe there’s no specific reason at all, it’s just a feeling.
As for “why choose MUJI,” this time MUJI has given its cute “official answer” in a new animated advertisement. The dialogue between two adorable main characters, “MU” and “JI,” is divided into three episodes to explain three reasons.
Salmon is a Whole Fish
In 1981, the first art director of MUJI, Kazuko Koike, designed a classic poster with the theme “Salmon is a Whole Fish” for MUJI’s food line. At that time, Japan was experiencing a period of severe food waste due to the continuous rise of the bubble economy. People often only ate the most delicious part of the salmon, the belly, and discarded the rest. Other foods also faced the fate of being trimmed and wasted.
Kazuko Koike, “Salmon is a Whole Fish,” 1981
Therefore, MUJI launched canned salmon made from the whole fish, emphasizing that even non-preferred parts of the salmon can be used to make delicious food at a cheaper price.
This principle of treating materials without discrimination is deeply rooted in MUJI’s brand DNA. The essence of raw materials is the same, and as long as they are fresh and healthy, they will not be discarded because of their appearance or irregular shape, thus avoiding unnecessary waste.
This philosophy of fully utilizing materials continues to this day in MUJI’s products, such as dishcloths and socks made from factory remnants of fabric and yarn, as well as snacks such as freeze-dried strawberries, potato chips, and chocolate that come in different sizes and shapes. After all, salmon is a whole fish!
Keeping the Natural Color of Materials
Looking back to 1984, MUJI developed a series of products called “Natural Color” and designed a poster with the theme of “Original Color” by Kazuko Tanaka.
We know that wool, cotton, and other materials have various colors due to different growth environments or types, or they may appear beige or mottled. However, MUJI hopes to minimize the bleaching and dyeing processes and preserve the natural color of the materials as much as possible.
Kazuko Tanaka, “Original Color,” 1984
This natural brand attitude has also been continued to this day. While ensuring the functionality, MUJI insists on using unbleached cotton, recycled paper, and maintaining the original color of stainless steel and aluminum products.
The unified visual conveyed by these materials is also one of the sources of healing that we can get from this brand.
Product Components are Replaceable
From small hairpins to large furniture and appliances, MUJI has grown from its initial 40 product offerings in 1980 to over 7,000 product categories today. However, one after-sales benefit that we may not be aware of is that MUJI provides over 10,000 spare parts for replacing damaged components of their products.
This means that when a small clip on a hanger breaks, a spring in a mattress is damaged, the lid of a teapot is accidentally shattered, or when you want to purchase just one of the 24 colored pencils in a set, you can replace them individually instead of buying a whole new product. This is really friendly for those of us who tend to trigger our passive skills accidentally.
🐟 👻 👀 🏷
After watching these animations, I am reminded of the “Good Products Speak for Themselves” posters designed by Kenya Hara for MUJI last year. With eyes and mouths added, the posters promote the idea of “selling oneself,” which is both cheesy and cute!
Kenya Hara, “Good Products Speak for Themselves,” 2022.
Let’s make a bold assumption here: since MUJI hotels and apartments have already been established, it’s not entirely impossible for a MUJI LAND to appear in the future, right?