Japan's growing 'less is more' trend

Growing numbers of Japanese turn to minimalist lifestyles in a country known for its consumerism.

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Fumio Sakai's home once looked like a shrine to clutter. Now he owns hardly anything after turning to Japan's growing trend towards a minimalist lifestyle.

Today he has just 150 possessions to his name and he says his life is happier because of it.

"It's not as though you feel satisfied after collecting a certain amount of stuff. Instead you keep thinking about what you're missing. Now I feel content with what I have," said Mr Sakai.

Former shopaholic Saeko Kushibiki followed the same route in a society renowned for its consumerism.

"My female friends would look at a cute product and say 'it's cute' and buy it. I don't have the same reaction anymore, these products just look like junk to me. I don't identify with them," said Ms Kushibiki.

Freelance writer Naoki Numahata and his wife say it's liberating to thin out their own possessions. But they're letting their young daughter hang on to hers, they've just stopped visiting toy shops.

The inspiration for Japan's minimalists came from the US where Apple founder Steve Jobs was among the early supporters.

But some in Japan argue the "less is more" philosophy has a very practical upside too.

In a nation regularly shaken by earthquakes, fewer possessions means less risk of injury from falling objects in the home.