After Japan's 3/11 crisis, which is still ongoing, there
has actually grown a new culture brought about by the
crisis, call it "crisis culture," which is a kind of nomadic
life wherein people pare down their lives to what is most
essential. The question is: What is most important to you?
A few of last year's bestselling books were about the
discarding of unessential household items and tidying
up one's house or living space. "Clutter consultants"
have never been busier.
From the two million-bestsellers a new buzzword has
emerged originating from the yoga term, "danshari,"
which means detaching oneself from one's things or
belongings. They even use it as a verb, "dansharu," or
a descriptive noun, "dansharian," a person who
We are, we realize, "dansharian" ourselves. We, my
wife Minako and I, have a different kind of mental
framework than before 3/11. Do I need this if I have to
evacuate and start life somewhere different? In a normal
mindset, probably we will use it in the future, so let's
store it nicely and keep it in storage. That is the usual
thinking. But not anymore.
This new phenomenon is not limited to books. Many
people we've met in Japan recently have worked at
doing "danshari." We see the evidence in the city recycling
spots all over the neighborhood, where discarded items
are piled up every week. The new buzzword and new
lingo also reflect the growing popularity of what can
be called "crisis cleaning."