There is an old Japanese saying that goes “Eat in measure and defy the doctor.” It simply means eating moderately or stopping eating before you feel totally stuffed is good for your health; just good old common sense when you think about it. The deeper meaning of the proverb lets us know the key to a healthy life is to eat an adequate or fit amount; and hints that by exercising a little self-restraint, if we reduce our measure from 100% to say 80%, rather than a joyless exercise in excessive self-control, we will create a joyful, balanced and healthy life.
Many people in Japan have taken the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 as a wakeup call. The aftermath of the earthquake only served to underline the awareness of truly appreciating the many wonderful things we take for granted in our daily lives. Increasing concern about our excessive consumption of goods and materials, as well as an over emphasis in the media on encouraging excessive consumption has been growing; the consumer society is in danger of consuming itself, and we now have a responsibility to return such out of control human desire to a more sustainable level.
MUJI has always been dedicated to the pursuit of adequacy, of designing products that are truly fit for their purpose. The Japanese word for craftsmanship is monozukuri, and we have put it at the very heart of our products; MUJI does not aim to make just adequate products, but products imbued with craftsmanship. We have taken a rather minimalist approach, always asking such questions as: “Is this necessary?” or “Is this going too far?” However, following the quake disaster, even MUJI strongly felt the need to renew our determination to pursue monozukuri in harmony with society and the earth, and that is why we decided to organize this exhibition.
We constantly question if we have used excessive materials; whether products are overpackaged, or are their sizes and weights too much; can we reduce waste in the ordering, manufacturing or transportation of products? Less is more.
MUJI constantly exercises self-restraint in the design and manufacture of its products; it can be frustrating reducing an item to its essentials, but with practice it becomes natural and even enjoyable. Just as changing our diet or taking up an exercise program, although sometimes painful at first, helps us become fit and healthy, MUJI hopes that as a world society, we will choose a sustainable path for the greater benefit of our Mother Earth and all her people.
“Product fitness 80” reflects MUJI’s willingness to educate ourselves by reviewing our own “adequacy” (fitness) now, and is our message to the world.
This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at www.muji.net