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Muji: Brandless Quality Goods

This blackboard globe is just one of the super cool and affordable items from Muji, which finally makes it's US debut in New York this November.

New Yorkers, used to the egocentric Japanese personalities like Nobu and Masa, may assume that there is a man named Muji behind the Japanese brand that has already seduced design-conscious crowds at MoMA and is scheduled to arrive in New York City on Nov. 16 with its first American store, at 455 Broadway in SoHo. (And a 5,000-square-foot space in the new New York Times Building in January.)

But there is no Muji the man. New York shoppers who can read the characters in the Japanese label (無印良品) immediately get the inside joke. The first character, 無 (mu), means “without.” The second character, 印 (jirushi), means “brand.” “Muji” is simply short for “Mujirushi Ryōhin” or “brandless quality goods.” Muji started out in the early 1980s as a generic supermarket brand for Seiyu but has grown to encompass a huge array of goods including housewares, lighting and clothing.

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