Fumio Sasaki gave away the majority of his possessions and now lives with just the bare essentials

Fumio Sasakis 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 meagre scattering of various other items.

Money isnt the issue. 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 Japans traditional Zen Buddhism, minimalists buck the norm in a fervently consumerist society by dramatically paring back their possessions.

Sasaki, once a passionate collector of books, CDs and DVDs, became tired of keeping up with trends two years ago.

I kept thinking about what I did not own, what was missing, he says.

He spent the next year selling possessions or giving them to friends.

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 says.

Minimalist
Minimalist Naoki Numahata talks to his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Ei, in their living-room in Tokyo. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Others welcome the chance to own only things they truly like a philosophy also applied by Mari Kondo, a consultant whose KonMari organisational methods have swept the United States.

Its not that I had more things than the average person, but that didnt mean that I valued or liked everything I owned, says Katsuya Toyoda, an online publication editor who has only one table and one futon in his 22 sq metre apartment.

I became a minimalist so I could let things I truly liked surface in my life.

Inspiration for Japans minimalists came from the US, where early adherents included Steve Jobs.

Definitions vary, because the goal is not just decluttering but re-evaluating what posessions mean, to gain something else in Sasakis case, time to travel.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/20/three-shirts-four-pairs-of-trousers-meet-japans-hard-core-minimalists

Three shirts, four pairs of trousers: meet Japan’s ‘hardcore’ minimalists
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