Fumio Sasaki’s one-room Tokyo apartment is so stark friends liken it to an interrogation room. He owns three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and a meager scattering of various other items.
The 36-year-old editor has made a conscious lifestyle choice, joining a growing number of Japanese deciding that less is more.
Influenced by the spare aesthetic of Zen Buddhism, these minimalists buck the norm in a fervently consumerist society by dramatically paring back their possessions.
“Spending less time on cleaning or shopping means I have more time to spend with friends, go out, or travel on my days off. I have become a lot more active,” he said.
Others welcome the chance to own only things they truly like – a philosophy also applied by Mari Kondo, a consultant whose “KonMari” organizational methods have swept the United States.
“I became a minimalist so I could let things I truly liked surface in my life.”
Definitions vary, because the goal is not just decluttering but re-evaluating what possessions mean, to gain something else – in Sasaki’s case, time to travel.