Are Muji products the Mingu of today?

Civilization living in coexistence with nature: this is a fundamental aspect of what Mingu is about. The term was coined by Keizo Shibusawa in Japan, during the early Showa Period. It refers to objects that have been part of the everyday lives of the common people for a long time. The design of the objects are triggered by impulse, reflecting innovation and imagination. Unique characteristics of individual regions can be noticed.

The 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo, recently re-examined the origins of products in collaboration with Muji. Massive changes in the manufacturing industry, allowed new materials to be developed. And as technologies evolved, everyday items have also diversified. Muji’s products are born from an extremely rational manufacturing process. In their eyes, simplicity and emptiness yield the ultimate universality, embracing the feelings and thoughts of all people. With this in mind, they ask: can Muji products also be considered as the Mingu of today? The exhibition made it clear, how important it is, to explore the relationship between design and society. Especially in a situation, that is more diverse and open than before. 

In 1993, graphic designers Markus and Daniel Freitag were looking for a functional, water-repellent and robust bag to hold their creative work. Inspired by the multicoloured heavy traffic, that rumbled through the Zurich transit intersection in front of their flat, they developed a messenger bag, from used truck tarpaulins, discarded bicycle inner tubes and car seat belts. This is how the first Freitag bags took shape in the living room of their shared apartment – each one recycled, each one unique. (Source:

What evolves is a timeless product which maintains a harmonious relationship between the cycles of nature and urban playgrounds. And this is the reference, which we should be looking for, if we aim to discover contemporary Mingu.

Ethics statement: This video was produced on my own behalf and represents my personal views. I am in no way affiliated with any companies or products mentioned.