A Japanese retail firm
Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd. (株式会社良品計画, Kabushiki-gaisha Ryōhin Keikaku) (TYO: 7453), or Muji (無印良品, Mujirushi Ryōhin) is a Japanese retail firm which sells all kinds of family and client items. Muji’s design philosophy is minimalist, and it locations an emphasis on recycling, lowering manufacturing and packaging waste, and a no-logo or “no-brand” coverage. The title Muji is derived from the primary a part of Mujirushi Ryōhin, translated as No-Model High quality Items on Muji’s European web site.
Merchandise and companies
Muji began with solely 40 merchandise within the 1980s. A few of their merchandise embody pens, pencils, notebooks, storage models, attire, kitchen home equipment, meals gadgets, and family care merchandise. Muji has additionally created an car. Muji storefronts such because the one in New York are giant and stocked with almost each single product out there. The first enterprise additionally contains Café Muji, Meal Muji, Muji Campsite, florist and residential furnishing; the corporate has additionally engaged in architectural initiatives corresponding to Muji Home.
By the top of the 2000s, Muji was promoting greater than 7,000 totally different merchandise. It’s positioned as a “moderately priced” model, retaining the retail costs of merchandise “decrease than standard” by the supplies it selects, streamlining its manufacturing processes, and minimising packaging.
Muji has opened lodges in Shenzhen, Beijing, and Ginza, Tokyo.
Mujirushi (no-brand) Ryōhin (high quality items) started as a product model of the grocery store chain The Seiyu, Ltd. in December 1980. The Mujirushi Ryōhin product vary was developed to supply reasonably priced high quality merchandise and have been marketed utilizing the slogan “Decrease priced for a motive.” Merchandise have been wrapped in clear cellophane, plain brown paper labels and crimson writing. Mujirushi Ryōhin’s drive to chop retail costs for customers noticed the corporate reducing waste by, for instance, promoting U-shaped spaghetti, the left-over half that’s lower off to promote straight spaghetti.
In 1983, the primary instantly operated Mujirushi Ryōhin retailer opened. In 1985, Mujirushi Ryōhin began abroad manufacturing and procurement, began to position direct manufacturing unit orders in 1986, and in 1987 Muji began to develop materials globally.
In 1989, Ryohin Keikaku Ltd turned the producer and retailer for all Mujirushi Ryōhin merchandise and operations, together with planning, improvement, manufacturing, distribution and sale.
In 1991, Mujirushi Ryōhin opened its first worldwide retailer in London.
In 1995, shares in “Muji Tsunan Campsite” have been registered as over-the-counter shares of Japan Securities Sellers Affiliation. In 1998, Ryōhin Keikaku listed on the second part of the Tokyo Inventory Alternate. From 2001 onwards, it was listed on the primary part. In April 2001 they issued the Muji Automotive 1000 (ムジ・カー 1000), a restricted launch of 1,000 badgeless and decontented Nissan Marches, solely out there on-line. Meant as an train to check their on-line advertising methods it was developed along with Nissan. The spartanly outfitted little automotive (with the rear seat upholstered in vinyl, as an illustration) was solely provided in “marble white”.
The model title “Muji” seems to have been used since round 1999.
Nations of operation
In Japan, Ryohin Keikaku has 328 instantly operated shops, and provides 124 retailers, as of August 2017[update].
Ryohin Keikaku has three manufacturing unit retailers at Osaka, Gotenba and Fukuoka.
There are 505 Worldwide shops as of November 2019[update], which embody UK (12), Finland (1), France (7), Italy (8), Germany (7), Eire (1), Sweden (1), Spain (6), Turkey (2), Poland (1), Portugal (1), United States (17), Canada (8), Hong Kong (19), Singapore (11), Malaysia (7), South Korea (30), Mainland China (264), Taiwan (51), Thailand (17), Australia (5), Indonesia (6), Philippines (5), Bahrain (3), Kuwait (2), Qatar (2), Saudi Arabia (4), UAE (5), Oman (1), India (4), Switzerland (1).
Muji opened its first American retailer on November 16, 2007, in SoHo, Manhattan.  In 2008, it opened two extra shops in Manhattan: one in Instances Sq., and one in Chelsea.
On November 30, 2012, it opened its first retailer on the West Coast in South of Market, San Francisco.
In New York Metropolis, Muji provides merchandise to a design retailer on the Museum of Fashionable Artwork and maintains a flagship retailer. As of November 2018[update], there are 5 shops in Manhattan, one in northern New Jersey, one in Boston, 6 shops in California, and one in Portland. A small department is at JFK Worldwide Airport, and one other location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has been introduced, however is but to open.
In July 2020, Muji USA filed for Chapter 11 chapter, citing shutdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Muji’s no-brand technique (generic model) signifies that little cash is spent on commercial or classical advertising, and Muji’s success is attributed to phrase of mouth, a easy buying expertise, and the anti-brand motion. Muji’s no-brand technique additionally means its merchandise are enticing to clients preferring unbranded merchandise for aesthetic causes, and since it supplies an alternative choice to conventional branded merchandise.
Muji has launched a T-shirt with a rubber sq. on the chest for purchasers to design their very own emblem or message. Muji now sells paper merchandise (corresponding to notebooks) which may be personalised by clients utilizing rubber stamps in-store at no cost. In addition they promote smooth items (corresponding to T-shirts and hats) which may be laptop embroidered to buyer specs, and picked up a number of hours or days later.
Muji is thought for its distinctive design, which is prolonged all through its greater than 7,000 merchandise. Commentators have described Muji’s design model as having mundanity, being “no-frills”, being “minimalist”, and “Bauhaus-style”.
Muji product design, and model identification, relies across the choice of supplies, streamlined manufacturing processes, and minimal packaging. Muji merchandise have a restricted color vary and are displayed on cabinets with minimal packaging, displaying solely practical product data and a price ticket. Detailed directions included with the product are often printed solely in Japanese, though multilingual translations are beginning to be included with some merchandise.
Design method and manufacturing
On its company web site, Ryohin Keikaku Ltd rationalises its ideas by way of producing prime quality merchandise at “decrease than standard” retail costs, true to the unique Muji advertising slogan “decrease priced for a motive”. On its catalogue web site Muji states that “on the coronary heart of Muji design is the Japanese idea of Kanketsu, the idea of simplicity”, aiming to “convey a quiet sense of calm into strenuous on a regular basis lives”. In an interview, Hiroyoshi Azami, President of Muji USA, described Muji’s design tradition as centred round designing “easy” merchandise which are fundamental and crucial.
In its design, Muji additionally follows environmental tips, searching for to “limit using substances that will have a big influence on individuals or the setting” and “scale back waste by standardising modules, facilitating disassembly, and by lowering packaging”.
The Muji design course of resists expertise for its personal sake, and prototype designs are produced on paper moderately than computer systems, in order to not encourage pointless element. The manufacturing course of is set by the buyer’s use of the product, which is a design precedence. Finishes, traces, and varieties are minimised for manufacturing ease.
Muji merchandise usually are not attributed to particular person designers. Whereas Muji has acknowledged that a few of its merchandise have been the works of well-known worldwide designers, it doesn’t disclose who they’re.
There are, nevertheless, some designers who made their involvement public. The notable are Naoto Fukasawa,Jasper Morrison,James Irvine,Sam Hecht, and Konstantin Grčić.
Muji participates in design collaborations with different corporations. In 2001, Muji and Nissan Motors produced the Muji Automotive 1000. This gasoline environment friendly, low-emission, and low-cost restricted version car aimed to include recycled supplies wherever doable. Following Muji’s no-brand technique, the automotive had no branding logos.
Usually, Muji retains its manufacturing sources non-public.
One notable exception is the model’s collaboration with Thonet, the oldest German furnishings maker. In 2008, Muji and Thonet introduced their cooperation to provide two traces of minimalist furnishings. The primary was bentwood chairs designed by James Irvine in homage to the enduring No. 14 chair of Thonet. The second was metal tubular chairs and desks designed by Konstantin Grčić. Roland Ohnacker, managing director of Thonet, acknowledged that the intention was “to assist 18 to 35 year-olds enter the Thonet model world”. From Spring 2009, these furnishings can be found at chosen Muji shops.
The primary artwork director of Muji was Ikko Tanaka. Tanaka is credited with growing the Muji idea along with Kazuko Koike (advertising guide), and Takashi Sugimoto (inside designer). Tanaka articulated the Muji imaginative and prescient and look, and he supplied concepts and prototypes that visualized the design technique. In 2001, Kenya Hara, an internationally acknowledged graphic designer and curator, took over as artwork director. He acknowledged that:
“I discovered that the corporate was at a standstill with the unique concept, ‘No design’, which was advocated at its inception. In addition they had greater than 250 retailers and bought greater than 5,000 gadgets, together with merchandise that deviated from the preliminary Muji idea or have been low value, however of substandard high quality.”
Kenya Hara has been credited as key determine in additional growing Muji. Hara has a background in graphic design, therefore had expertise in designing packaging and company identities. Past that, he’s credited with considerably moulding the Muji model and design identification. In an interview in 2005, Hara acknowledged that “Every thing on this planet has develop into an object of curiosity for me. Every thing is designed.” Hara has revealed books on design philosophy, most lately Designing Design.
Sam Hecht, Artistic Director of Muji Europe, is quoted as saying “The human isn’t the centre of every thing, however on the identical degree of every thing”.
Design awards and competitors
In 2005, Muji was awarded 5 gold product design awards by the Worldwide Discussion board Design in Germany.
In 2006, Muji held its first worldwide design competitors, “Muji Award 01”. In 2007, Chen Jiaojiao revealed a guide on Muji design and model entitled “Manufacturers A-Z: Muji”.
The Berlin correspondent for The New York Instances experiences that the Japanese name Muji-fans “Mujirers”. Muji’s worldwide shops and The Muji Catalogue primarily retail Muji dwelling client items, furnishings and clothes, whereas Muji Japan sells in a variety of sectors, together with meals, bicycles, camp websites, telephones, yoga, florists, cafes, and idea homes.
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