Japan: Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day Japan

Buy Nothing Day Japan

Started in 1992 in Canada by artist Ted Dave, the Buy Nothing Day movement [en] has spread to more than 60 countries around the world, Japan included.
In line with the philosophy of the movement, next Saturday (November 28) Japanese are invited to refrain from shopping and reflect upon their thoughtless consumerism habits.

So reads the purpose statement of Buy Nothing Day:

Provide a moment of pause in the production-consumption routine. Find alternatives to a shopping-centered life-style. Draw attention to the social, economic, environmental and psychological effects of overconsumption. Promote ecological economics (local and environmentally responsible business, non=GNP indicators of wealth).

Buy Nothing Day 2009 PV by Illcommonz

All over the country, individuals and organizations are planning special events to alert people to the problems related to irresponsible buying customs.
Ikuko, a member of the artistic group NU★ie, announces that they will organize workshops in Sapporo, in the northern island of Hokkaido. One of the workshops, for example, will consist of the production of useful objects by recycling cast-off products.


Mass production, mass consumption. This is a good opportunity to reconsider, at least once a year, our living habits that have made of consumption seemingly a normal thing.
‘A day in which we don't buy unnecessary things = Buy Nothing Day’
This movement, originally from Canada, is now a movement that happens all over the world at the same
We thought that we wanted to do something also in Sapporo so we decided to organize an event!
Its name…
“Buy Nothing Day: a holiday to enjoy free”

Blogger zawasawa reflects on the meaning of ‘culture’ and what are conventionally called cultural products.


We are now used to purchasing many of our amusements which are the so called ‘cultural’ products, such as the television and so on, made by the professionals of the amusement industry. We are merely passive consumers or, at best, participants. We buy CDs, watch movies and participate in staged events. Like shoe factories that make shoes, Hollywood and Nintendo produce ‘culture’ and provide us with it.
However ‘culture’ is not that, it is not an industrial product. If we look at history we can see how ‘culture’ is rather something that people such as ourselves have been building up over many generations.

Buy Nothing Day 2009 PV-THEY STILL ALIVE by Illcommonz

On the occasion of the Kyoto Buy Nothing Day in 2007, a team of Japanese artists led by activist and video maker Illcommonz (イルコモンズ) produced a short movie as inspiration to the anti-consumerism movement titled 無買日 京都 二〇〇七(Mubaibi Kyoto 2007, Buy Nothing Day Kyoto 2007) .

【あらすじ】 「買うものであなたが決まる(You are what you buy)」という丸井のクレジットカードのCMを見たイルコモンズ。「そんなことあるものか!このCMは人間に対する冒涜だ!」と腹をたて、毎年、クリスマス・シーズンに行われるアドバスターズの「BUY NOTHING DAY」に参加することを決意。早速、自作のキャンペーン・ポスターをつくり、YouTubeにキャンペーン・ビデオをアップし、さらに、「資本主義への日々の投票用紙」であるレシートで覆われたマネキンまでこしらえるが、それでもまだ腹の虫がおさまらない。そこで、毎年、「BUY NOTHING DAY」に京都四条河原町の阪急百貨店前で行われる「禅タ・クロースの座禅」イベントに参戦。はたしてそこでイルコモンズが見たものは何か? そして、「僕らがどんな人間かを決めるのは何なのか?」という問いにイルコモンズが出した答えは何か?現代美術家で民族誌家でメディア・アクティヴィストのイルコモンズが、クリスマスに贈るヒューマン・ドキュメント」

Synopsis – Illcomonz sees Marui Department Store's commercial for the credit card which says ‘You are what you buy’. Angry with this phrase he thinks “Is this possible? This ad is a blasphemy against what it means to be a human being!” and he decides to participate in the ‘Buy nothing Day’ movement that the Adbusters run each year during the Christmas season.
He starts to make his own promotional posters and upload videos onto YouTube. He also makes a mannequin covered in store receipts that are the ‘everyday voting paper of capitalism.’ But his anger is not stilled yet and every year he actively participates in the ‘Zenta Claus Meditation’ event held in front of the Hankyu department store in Kawaramachi, Shijo, in Kyoto.
But what is it that Illcomonz sees there and what answer has Illcommonz to the question ‘What is it that determines what kind of human beings we are?’
This is a statement on humanity delivered by contemporary artist, documentary maker and media activist Illcommonz.
What are you? By Flickr id: Ripplet.jp

What are you? By Flickr id: Ripplet.jp


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.