Beginning in 2003, MUJI began declaring its vision for each year in newspaper advertisements. With each running to approximately 1,600 characters in length, they were rather wordy for newspaper ads. Although they were somewhat unsophisticated, they were written with the intention of prioritizing contents that would clearly communicate the thinking of the company each time, making it possible to chart the course of the brand from the ads of past years. The ad for the first year, 2003, contained two pieces. One was “The Future of MUJI,” which described the history of MUJI from its birth more than 20 years earlier and its direction for the future. The other was “MUJI on a Global Scale,” which was based on the “World MUJI” concept described in the fax that had been sent to Ikko Tanaka by Kenya Hara.
The 2005 ad pictured above was titled “Tea House and MUJI,” and featured a photo of a single bowl that MUJI had just marketed that year in the Dojinsai Tea Room at Jishoji (Ginkakuji) Temple, said to be the original model for all Japanese-style interiors. The photo taken by Yoshihiko Ueda was shot in black and white, filled with rich shades of light and dark. Through variations in the implements and items associated with a tea room, a Japanese tea room can alter its spatial reality in unlimited ways. It is because MUJI is simple that it has the freedom to flexibly accommodate the varied interpretations which people have of it. The only word on the poster was the Japanese MUJI logotype, with these four Chinese characters functioning as a receptacle to catch the thoughts of everyone who encounters it. (via Nippon Design Center)