Home Article

For a stress-free life, this is Japanese minimalism

Published on 08 March 2018|
1 min read

Have you ever walked into a room thinking, “There are just too many things here!” Then, it’s time for minimalism.

by Tommy Duncan, Carrybeans

Credit: Esquire

No more, no less

The author of Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism has 20 items in his one-bedroom apartment. Fumio Sasaki has adopted minimalism as his lifestyle, detaching himself from everyday objects. He now spends his time travelling or creating memories with friends.

Credit: Yunomi (Fumio does not own a mop, he uses wet wipes to clean the floor)

By doing this it has led him to live a clean and orderly life. This is minimalism, the art of living with only as much as you need, which is in effect, very little. It is a significant part of Japan’s culture, as the Japanese enjoy cleanliness and orderliness as much as their sushi.

Credit: Reddit (Emperor of Japan meeting with Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia)

Well, does it spark joy?

The art of de-cluttering swept through the Western world with Marie Kondo, an author and ‘lifestyle expert’ who advocates the activity of de-cluttering your life. Her KonMari method uses an approach based on Japanese values, but the big question she wants us all to ask is, “Does this [item] spark joy?”

Her mission is to organise the world and spark joy in people’s lives. 

Credit: Marie Kondo

Where did minimalism stem from?

This lifestyle requires basically throwing things or “things” out and having only the things that you need. It is not really known how minimalism came about. However, some have said that it may derive from Buddhism, as the way of life focuses on discarding the unnecessary and focussing on ‘clearing’ your mind and life.

A few Buddhist principles that I have found quite enlightening include:

  • Letting go of attachment to the world
  • Staying in harmony with fellow human beings
  • Being aware of your thoughts and understanding
  • Practising kindness and compassion

Why do people do it?

People who embrace minimalism feel enriched, saying it helps them focus on what is really important. These include time with family, dreams and passions, seeing the world and experiencing life in its fullness.

As Malaysia’s economy grows and our doors open wide, we have access to so many more things that seem to ‘enhance’ life now. Materialism is growing. We want to see a Lamborghini in our front porch, own a beachfront condominium and have a wardrobe of designer clothing.

Don’t get me wrong, self-actualisation is at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But what about success and minimalism, side by side? We might become more productive than we realise!

If you’re intrigued enough (like me), you can check out the books by Sasaki and Kondo on Amazon.

Does age matter in relationship? Read here for more!

Featured Image Credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash

© Copyright 2019 Carrybeans