Japanese Minimalism – The Simple Art


Currently, there is a lot of interest in and use of minimalism in a variety of areas as well as in daily life. People should make things as plain and understandable as possible rather than making them difficult and inconvenient. This concept is known as minimalism in English. What then is Japanese minimalism? Let’s find out more about Japanese minimalism by reading the helpful details below.

I. What is minimalism?

Less is more, according to the life philosophy of Japanese minimalism. In the broadest sense, it describes letting go of surplus material possessions, decluttering, and making room for one’s growth and peace of mind. So what is minimalism? It is employed in many various contexts, it always refers to the process of minimizing as many aspects as possible while preserving the essence of an object. Here, Japanese minimalism refers to the elimination of extraneous ornamentation and features. Remove intricate hues, but the harmonious lines that are still produced maintain the piece’s aesthetic appeal and profundity.


Japanese minimalism emphasizes living with only what is necessary to keep life simple, tidy, and uncluttered. It is influenced by the aesthetic of traditional Zen Buddhism practiced in Japan. Less is more is a philosophy that originated in Japanese aesthetics, which also values maintaining a healthy work-life balance, a Japanese minimalist house, and a passion for the beauty of the natural world. Japanese culture, lifestyle, and art have all been shaped by this minimalist way of existence.

Instead of purchasing anything to fill a hole, you think you have – the operative word here thinking – Japanese minimalism prefers taking care of themselves, and their assets, making the most of what is already available. You’d be astonished at how many things can serve several purposes or can be recycled, as well as how Japanese minimalists work around the lack of some items.

1. The concept of “Ma” 

In Japanese, the phrase literally translates as “gap”, “space” or “pause” and it primarily refers to empty space. A promise that hasn’t been fulfilled, the appearance of “Ma” in art symbolizes the “emptiness full of potential.” We appreciate the fact that Japanese minimalists regard every void as an opportunity when it comes to Japanese minimalism.

Space should always be considered an opportunity when the word “Ma” is used to describe minimalism. This philosophy is the reason why so many individuals opt to decorate their homes with Japanese minimalism. Having an open floor plan gives your home the impression that there are countless options within.

2. The Origin of Minimalism

Actually, the phrase minimalism has been around for quite some time – perhaps 200 years.

  • 1800 – 1850: Minimalism derives from everyday life rather than artistic disciplines. During this time, philosophers held that seclusion and simplicity were the keys to understanding and enlightenment. Minimalism was not explicitly proclaimed or mentioned at this time, but it was from this point on that the phrase began to gain popularity.
  • 1920 – 1930: At the Bauhaus, instructors and students developed alternatives to the old, deemed-unattractive manufacturing process. Many more affordable products that carry the design touch to more locations were created as a result of these new techniques.
  • 1960 – 1970: A group of young painters who are trying to find novel ways to get through the restrictive norms of fine art appreciates the growing strength of the minimalism approach. Agnes Martin, sculptor and artist Donald Judd, and artist Frank Stella are all noteworthy from this era. In art-related professions including painting, architecture, and other creative fields, the minimalist approach is being used more and more frequently. Dieter was credited with having the most influence on the minimalism style by the 1970s due to his straightforward yet practical designs.
  • Modern society has embraced the minimalist movement. Additionally, minimalism is fundamental to this way of life and is connected to many aspects of life, particularly the arts and music.

3. The main principles of Minimalism 

  • Simple over complicated. You should get rid of anything but what is necessary, whether it is clothing or house décor. When buying, always choose more understated patterns over ones that are dazzling and glittery. 
  • Utility. Practicality is key to minimalism, from your office to your choice of shoes. For instance, instead of using complete phrases and paragraphs that resemble essays, choose to take brief notes or use key points from a lecture.
  • Overcoming the concept of scarcity. You won’t go hungry or have to wander about naked. Being a minimalist is appreciating what you possess and believe that you will always have enough.
  • Stoicism. You may be familiar with Greek philosophy, but did you realize that Japanese minimalism draws on it as well? In a way, stoicism is a technique of managing your feelings and releasing go of things you can’t change. When living a simple lifestyle, you should steer clear of situations that could cause emotional outbursts and save your energy for things that make you happy.
  • Letting go with grace. Letting go of things is difficult, and doing so for the first time will probably be unpleasant in its own right. But you should get rid of everything that hasn’t been utilized in a while, everything that just sits there gathering dust, even the personality you were a year ago. Don’t dwell too much on the past; instead, embrace the NOW.

II. Some ideas of Minimalism


1. Less always equals more

Having less is more is a core tenant of Japanese minimalism. Having less produces a Zen environment where you don’t feel pressured or dislike being. This may entail having less furniture, fewer kitchen appliances, or even less of a home overall. The main goal is to cherish each moment, but are you really living it to the fullest if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your possessions and the sights you encounter on a daily basis?

2. Countless chances in empty space

An excessive degree of emptiness is the default aesthetic of Japanese minimalism. Returning to the term “ma,” it refers to the celebration of emptiness and space in a specific location as opposed to the more normal celebration of having excess items.

You must develop a love for the void you create in your home if you want to embrace the Japanese minimalist movement. Possibilities are found in emptiness.

3. Get rid of items you no longer use or require.

Typically, Japanese minimalists own just one to three of a given item. items like toothbrushes, spoons, pillows, and blankets. They advocate just owning what you absolutely want, hence if you own ten different spoons, forks, and knives but only ever use 5, declutter the extra 5. You’ll experience a weight being removed from your shoulders. Apply this philosophy to anything you can think of in your home, including shoes, shirts, jeans, candles, and towels. De-clutter whatever you don’t need!

4. Avoid serving money as a master.

Despite the fact that they were all inexpensive goods, you do not need ten shirts of the same color and design. The focus on high-quality, expensive goods is a hallmark of Japanese minimalism. Ever seen a Japanese person who didn’t have a fashionable appearance? By investing in higher-end, more pricey products, they maximize their possessions by buying fewer of them and frequently changing up their wardrobe. They prioritize quality over quantity.

5. Use your time wisely.

Do you want to know what this has to do with Japanese minimalism? It’s because you have to be selective about where you invest your time and effort in life, just like anything else. You should exercise caution in how you utilize your time and what you put effort into because the Japanese minimalist culture is all about making life simpler, easier, and happier. Spend your time carefully on activities that will make you happy because it is equally as priceless as your possessions and wealth.

>> Read more: Japanese Kitchenware.

III. Minimalism in practical areas


1. Graphics with a Minimal Style

Japanese minimalism is a straightforward layout that keeps the essential information you want to express while eliminating any extraneous colors. Viewers will be more able to grasp and appreciate a Japanese modern minimalist house design that uses the fewest features, minimalist imagery, and symbols on a graphic while still being essential to conveying its main message. Keep your attention focused while viewing it. The design of websites, logos, mobile applications, packaging, and posters are some examples of graphical priorities that adhere to the minimalist aesthetic.

2. Minimalist Photography

The images are finished in today’s photography with just 2 hues, without any color or complexity, yet the level of craftsmanship is still quite high. Successful artistic photography may also be achieved by simply understanding how to organize the blocks or divide a scene into harmoniously divided persons and scenes. Alternatively, you could just use studio photography sessions with a very plain, uncolored background to draw attention to the subject’s image. The main subject of the photograph has an impact on the viewer because of the surrounding’s minimalism.

3. Minimalist Indoor & Interior Design

A modern home or a Japanese minimalist studio apartment frequently follows the trend of interior simplicity. The housing area is furnished utilizing blocks in this fashion. That implies that greater room and light will be taken into consideration. Because the genuine furniture shown in the house is as relaxed as possible, the space in the home will feel much larger.


Additionally, the designer will find and reduce the furniture items in accordance with the best color schemes in order to create a distinct theme for the Japanese minimalist room rather than painting each piece a different color. There are a maximum of 2 to 3 major colors that can be used for the furniture in the house. The use of modest furnishings to create an open, organized space and a sense of tranquility is the main tenet of interior décor in a minimalist home. Japanese Minimalism architecture also needs to have delicate shapes and neutral colors.

4. Minimalist Outdoor Design


The advantage of reducing the outside is to create more space for the garden and a destination. To make the garden more prominent, we won’t scatter plants across the yard but instead will just embellish 1 or 2 potted plants. In order to create a harmonious mix of trees and furniture and improve the aesthetics of the entire outdoor space, only simple tables and chairs appropriate for the garden should be placed outside the house.

5. Minimalist Lifestyle

Living more simply will enable us to overcome depression, maintain a positive outlook, and experience life with greater optimism. We must reduce the information in order to live a minimalist existence. Choose and keep track of only the data that is pertinent to you. Relationship Japanese minimalism is another factor. Concentrate only on strong, solid, and close relationships.


Japanese Minimalism lifestyle also restricts their entertainment consumption to shows that promote knowledge and human values. The benefit of a minimalist lifestyle is that it teaches people to find joy in even the tiniest and most basic things. A minimalist lifestyle will rid people of their ambition for ostentatious, trivial goods, leaving them feeling upbeat and positive about life in general.

6. Minimalist Fashion

The fashion business is one of the sectors that emit the most waste and pollutes the environment the most despite the widespread promotion of green initiatives today. Because of this, customers are responding positively to Japanese minimalism in fashion and it is receiving more attention. What then is minimalist clothing?

Because minimalist design is just that, you’ll just need a few simple outfits in your closet to cover your demands. The simplicity of colors in your attire is another way to think of fashion minimalism. Additionally, minimalism in fashion refers to the elimination of superfluous and irrelevant aspects from designs in order to produce the most basic clothing while maintaining relevance to the age, aesthetics, and gender of the wearer and the fundamental messages it conveys.


In minimalist fashion, outfits are frequently kept simple with few accessories and neutral colors. Fashion minimalism is not a sloppy design or a product that ignores the product; rather, the best materials must always be chosen and the best designs must go through a rigorous and rigorous design process. Despite being straightforward, the product still oozes refinement and personality beauty.


Modern society is heavily influenced by Japanese minimalism, and as things get more complicated, people want everything to be as simple as possible. Everyone tries to simplify things to make life easier, but somewhere the fundamental value is still there, and beauty endures over time.