MUJI's Expanding Activities
MUJI's Expanding Activities
MUJI is not just a collection of products. We aim to be a group which considers every aspect of life with care, from the smallest details to the whole planet's future. As a platform of society we want to respond with conscience and creativity to many ongoing chal-lenges. This commitment drives us to various activities.
Capitalizing on Untapped Resources
Abandoned agricultural land
Kamogawa's Oyama district is well known for its picturesque scenery and Oyama Senmaida (terraced rice fields). Since the rice fields are built on narrow slopes, mass production of rice here is very difficult. Another challenging issue is the aging of the local population coupled with the declining number of workers available to maintain the fields. Since 2014, MUJI has been engaged in activities supporting the Satoyama Trust. As a part of these activities, we have worked with the local community in developing value-added products that use cooking rice. As a result of our combined efforts, Kameda Shuzo Co., Ltd. (a saké maker in Kamogawa) made a type of Japanese saké using cooking rice. This product is being sold in limited quantities from 2016 only at limited MUJI locations and the Kameda Shuzo outlet.
Shirahama School House is a multipurpose complex that repurposes a former school facility in the city of Minamiboso in Chiba Prefecture. The adjacent school grounds are developed into plots to lease as a space for huts with vegetable gardens. Ryohin Keikaku is selling MUJI HUTs to people leasing these plots.
School has always played a key role in the local community. Even after closing, it could assume the same role through renewal. We hope MUJI HUT can provide a new model for bringing people together and revitalizing the community.
MUJI is dedicated to creating connections through products and services: that is, bringing people together, connecting individuals with communities, and connecting people with nature. To achieve this, at the "Sato-no-MUJI Minnami-no-Sato" multi-purpose communication terminal that opened after renovation in April 2018, local producers and companies joined forces to conduct direct sales of farm produce and sell local products. In addition, Sato-no-MUJI Minnami-no-Sato also serves as the starting point for distribution as we are delivering vegetables and selling vegetables collected by route buses at MUJI Minnnami-no-Sato to create a regional logistics system and promote local production and local consumption.
In December 2018, MUJIcom Hikarigaoka Yurinoki Shoutengai oepened in Hikarigaoka Park Town in Tokyo's Itabashi Ward, under the theme of "community, communication, and commodity." MUJI believes that "providing a place to live" and "interaction in daily life" would then lead to the revitalization of the housing complex community, and, even before the opening, we held meetings with our staff and housing complex residents to chat and invite them to participate in workshops for store development and created opportunities for residents to connect with each other. We aim to be a rooted in the local community where greetings and casual conversations are naturally born, to truly serve the daily life of our customers.
Prioritizing Connecting with People in Everything We Do
Shokoku Ryohin (Good products across Japan)
"Shokoku Ryohin" is an online store which introduces products that are native across the regions of Japan.
They are of rare and wonderful value and have existed as local essentials for generations, but they have not been widely distributed due to limited production quantities and period or lack of sales channels or inability to meet the quantity and quality requirements of major corporations. We deliver such items directly to customers together with the passion and message from each producer.
In 2015, MUJI launched the website "Local Nippon," a platform for MUJI to introduce and support initiatives to address regional issues throughout Japan and to further provide regional support.
Local Nippon aims to be a hub for people to discover the appeal of regional areas by focusing on their local activities and the people working behind these initiatives. We wish to help increase the value of areas by connecting with them, rediscovering and reorganizing their attractions, and disseminating information from the same perspective. We are also engaged in creating mechanisms to support the resolution of issues in each region.
In the "Satoyama" region (an area of farmland and mountain foothills) in Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, terraced rice fields are irrigated entirely with rainwater. This type of field is increasingly difficult to maintain as the local population ages. With the help of visitors from urban areas, we hope to preserve for and pass down future generations such kind of environment, tradition, and life in harmony with nature. MUJI Laboratory for Living and the non-profit organization Uzu co-sponsor hands-on farming events since May 2014, where participants help plant, weed and harvest in the rice fields.
Since 2016, the project was renamed as Kamogawa Satoyama Trust, and the activities have expanded to the preservation of terraced rice fields in various regions and the conservation of local cultures through activities such as woven straw decoration.
Embedding stores in communities
MUJI stores aim to become the platforms for local residents to interact and communicate with each other.To this end, we are holding events such as exhibitions and talk shows by local-based experts, or workshops by in-store specialty sales staff. At stores that serve as the hub of each region, the "Open MUJI" event space has been set up. In this way, we not only provide customers with pleasant shopping environment, but also contribute to the development of each region as a platform rooted in the local community.
Design in Public Spaces
In April 2015, MUJI set up sofa benches in the gate lounges and natural oak tables and chairs in the food court of the Narita Airport Terminal 3 to create a pleasant environment in which passengers can relax. In May 2019, a public space designed by MUJI was opened in the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport T3 terminal. The whole space is divided into a rest area and a business area, a design made from observations of actual scenes of usage.
MUJI believes that cutting-edge technologies such as autonomous driving are essential in solving problems not only in cities, but also in outlying regions suffering from declining birthrate and aging population. We also believe that the GACHA bus, in addition to its being an all-weather vehicle, is a good example as it targets practical applications as a community-shared public transportation system rather than a privately owned vehicle. In line with MUJI's thinking, we started a joint project in 2017 with Sensible 4, a Finnish company that researches and develops autonomous driving technology. MUJI not only designed the bus itself, but it also contributed to the grand design of the area where the bus will soon run. MUJI hopes this bus will not only serve as a means of transportation, but also a device for creating a warm society, where people can meet, come together, and create a new type of local community.
Since May 2017, based at the former Oikawa Elementary School in Otaki Town, Chiba Prefecture (closed in 2013), we have launched activities with local residents to promote their industry and revitalize the local community. We also set up a co-working space within the facility where local residents can work together and get connected. In cooperation with local residents and Otaki Town, we aim to rediscover the charm of the area, create a business that solves local problems through the utilization of local resources, promote industry and revitalize the local community by increasing the number of visitors and migrants.
We hope that this place will serve as a meeting place for community members to communicate and learn from each other, which in turn will lead to cooperation and collaboration and the creation of businesses.
In December 2018, "Keihan Hirakata Station," the first station space designed by MUJI, opened. Based on the concept of "a station one wants to visit all the time," the idea of "community building that starts at the station" that Keihan Hirakata Station aims for and MUJI's idea of "a simple, pleasant life" go hand in hand, and we consider the station space a place that links people in the region.
The concourse outside the ticket gates has been used to hold local markets and events such as the "Hirakata Tsunagaru-ichi," in an effort to make the central exit concourse, which is the showpiece of the station, a place for local people to gather and use on a daily basis.
MUJI HOTEL enables customers to enjoy MUJI in their journeys. Nowadays, travelling has evolved from the something extraordinary to the something ordinary, from something people take part in to something that people create. In other words, travelling is becoming part of many people's regular lives. The "anti-gorgeous, anti-cheap" MUJI HOTEL offers great sleep at the right price, provides a space supporting both body and soul while away from home, and connects travelers to the local communities.
Housing complex renovation
MUJI and the Urban Renaissance Agency are collaborating on the "MUJI x UR housing complex renovation project," which considers how to revitalize old buildings. Rather than tearing down old buildings, we are working with everyone to transform them into homes that fit in with modern lifestyles. By reviewing the housing complex to make use of its strengths, and gently combining the wisdom and ingenuity accumulated by MUJI, we believe that it is possible to continue to live in an old house for a long time. We hope that this will become the standard way of living in Japan in the future.
Simple and Delicious Food
MUJI aspires to be a platform that creates good relationships between people, people and society, and people and nature.
At MUJI Diner, we aim to highlight the importance and enjoyment of food by providing "simple food" that is healthy for the body and at the same time delicious. We offer meals made with the freshest ingredients, including seafood shipped directly from fishing ports and meat and vegetables selected by traveling to the area of origin.
It is our sincere hope that the MUJI Diner will become a place where producers can connect with their customers, a place that provide an opportunity to think about food.
The menu at Café&Meal MUJI is based on the idea of "Simple Food is Delicious." The simple, healthy and delicious meals are filled with the natural blessings from the season. Our staff members actually travel around the world to visit farms and local growers in order to source such seasonal ingredients. In order to bring out the original taste of ingredients to enrich the flavor, we minimize the chemical seasonings, use no preservatives and cook in a healthy way.
Initiatives to Reduce Waste
This is an initiative to recycle products that customers have used for years (part of the collected products) and those products that are deemed unsellable as a result of a glitch during the manufacturing and distribution process. We then re-dye and recycle them into ReMUJI merchandize, giving them a new and unique value. The first sales began in March 2015 at MUJI Tenjin Daimyo. Currently, ReMUJI items are sold regularly at 13 stores throughout Japan.
Launched in 2010, the BRING Project (formerly known as FUKU-FUKU Project) is a joint corporate initiative that aims to achieve 100% recycling of clothing and textile materials. The project name "BRING" indicates the consumption behavior of "to bring" and also functions as a call for "Let's bring". Ryohin Keikaku has been participating in the project since 2010 to make contributions to the formation of a recycling-oriented society.
MUJI, which aims for a better relationship with the nature, has been making every effort to reduce waste. One of the efforts concerns the shopping bags when customers make purchases. From June 2020, all stores in Japan has abolished the distribution of plastic shopping bags and switched to the use paper bags. We also launched a campaign to promote the use of My Bags at all MUJI stores in Japan. Going forward, we will continue our efforts to recycle the earth's resources and reduce wastes.
Post-disaster recovery support
MUJI provides post-disaster recovery support through products and fundraising initiated by organizations such as the Japan Platform and the Japanese Red Cross Society, as well as local governments.
So far, we have made donations to support the Great East Japan Earthquake reconstruction activities and other emergency assistance for earthquake, typhoon and torrential rain damage, conducted food donations to Children's Cafeteria, made donations to NPOs and NGOs, and provided product donations as well.
In addition, we also installed a fundraising system in MUJI online store to enable customers to easily donate a small amount to an organization/activity they want to support.
Initiatives with developing countries
MUJI supports the One Village One Product Project (OVOP)* promoted in developing countries by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (hereinafter, JICA). In 2010, the "MUJI x JICA Project" was launched and MUJI has been collaborating with JICA to implement joint product development since then. This project aims to turn wool felt production, a local specialty, into an industry while revitalizing the local communities. We have been selling these handmade felt produces since 2010.
This project was approved as a BCtA initiative hosted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and MUJI was the first Asian retailer recognized with such initiative.
Long-lasting, Adaptable Homes
MUJI RENOVATION CLUB
MUJI RENOVATION CLUB offers a wide range of information on renovation plans such as MUJI INFILL 0, a home renovation service to zero out the old layout so that the customer can add new value according to his/her lifestyle, and MUJI INFILL +, which enables one to freely arrange furniture and fixtures and to organize one's lifestyles.
MUJI HOUSE Co., Ltd. that develops MUJI HOUSEs has always designed houses that are long-lasting and easy to remodel. With its "one-room space" concept, the fixtures and fittings in MUJI HOUSEs can be rearranged freely and safely according to the changes in the dwellers' lifestyles. In this way, the house cope flexibly with lifestyle changes and need not only for now, but for 10 or 30 years forward. We have also introduced a new wooden construction method that ensures strength and durability by using laminated lumber whose quality has been approved by strength tests.
Conserving Natural Resources
With the idea of "enjoying nature--naturally," Ryohin Keikaku operates three campsites (Tsunan-machi in Niigata Prefecture, Takayama City in Gifu Prefecture, and Tsumagoi-mura in Gunma Prefecture) and manages a total of approximately 700,000 tsubo (approximately 231.4 ha) of forests around the sites. In addition, at the three campsites, we carry out activities to deepen customers' understanding of nature through outdoor classes and kids' summer camps in which local residents participate as instructors.