MUJI flagship store opening 7 November 2019, Mayor Vapaavuori’s opening remarks

MUJI flagship store opening 7 November 2019, Mayor Vapaavuori’s opening remarks

Your Excellency,

President Matsuzaki,

Minister Skinnari,

Dear Friends,


Last Spring I experienced a MUJI epiphany. I was walking around the MUJI flagship store in Tokyo as the CEO Mr. Kanai explained the brand’s origins. Until that day I had been predominantly excited about MUJI for its retail success and loyal following. On that day I realized why so many people had spent years trying to get the store to settle into Helsinki. Much more than products MUJI is a life-choice, a philosophy and a vision for better, more sustainable and locally empowering future shared by people around the world.

Don’t get me wrong – I still very much believe that MUJI store should make its home in Helsinki. The close relations between Japan and Finland, the shared passion for functional and meaningful aesthetics, the love for nature and simpler life, they all lead to the undeniable truth that there is something very special in this relationship. And yet still I feel we are only taking the first steps of a much larger and more meaningful partnership.

One of the things truly connecting Helsinki and MUJI is our holistic view on life. Successful urban life is functional, sustainable, high quality and creative. The way we live, work, move and interact with others is under constant transformation and the way to a lasting success are life choices that support a sense of community and wholeness. In Helsinki MUJI has introduced the robot buss Gacha. Around the world people can experience MUJI hotels, houses and food. Wherever city life takes us, MUJI is there.

It has been estimated that over 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. They will have an urban mindset and reality. We need more innovative, resourceful organizations like MUJI re-developing and re-inventing the city life. We need more companies engaged in our fight against climate change and segregation. We need more simple solutions and less complex problems. We need partnerships with other cities, corporations and the civil society. In the future no-one can do it alone. We are all together on this earth.

My tour with Mr. Kanai in Tokyo ended at the MUJI food market. He asked me to pick up a fruit. “It will be the best fruit you have ever eaten”. And it was so.  He said, that the MUJI in Helsinki will be the most beautiful MUJI in the world. And it is so.


Congratulations and thank you for making Helsinki your home.