Masaaki Kanai

Masaaki Kanai is the President of Ryōhin Keikaku, the manufacturer and retailer of Mujirushi Ryōhin (Muji) a brand of household and consumer goods that is unique in its commitment to design minimalism, focus on recycling, avoidance of waste in production and packaging, and its no-logo (“no brand”) policy.

Established in 1980, Muji creates products that are “Lower priced for a reason”, through carefully selecting materials, streamlining manufacturing and simplifying packaging, therefore being able to introduce high quality products into the market at lower than usual prices, proposing ‘rational lifestyles for today’s world’. Muji (Mujirushi Ryōhin – ‘No-brand quality goods’) began as part of the supermarket chain, The Seiyu, Ltd and developed to offer cheap, good quality products, with the slogan ‘Lower priced for a reason’. Cutting waste while cutting retail prices, some of Muji’s products included selling U-shaped spaghetti: the parts left over in order to sell straight spaghetti. “Muji was founded as an antithesis to the habits of consumer society at that time,” Masaaki Kanai has said, “The idea was to create a product that is truly needed, in its needed form, within a reasonable price, and to balance the quality and price.”

Quickly becoming a success, the first directly operated Muji store opened in 1983, and in 1985 began overseas production and procurement. In 1989, Ryōhin Keikaku became the manufacturer and retailer for all Muji products. In 1991, Muji opened its first international store in London. In 1998, Ryōhin Keikaku was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In 2005, Muji was awarded five Gold product design awards, by the International Forum Design in Germany.