What Is Originality? Don’t Try to Be Unique If You Want to Be Unique


Originality is a characteristic only of a genius

A student in the art class challenged his teacher, saying “it’s meaningless to learn art. Art is something to feel, and our originality may be stunted by learning. ” The teacher answered quietly, “Can you draw like Picasso? Of course not, because he is a genius, and we are not. Originality is a characteristic only of a genius. We need to learn to understand geniuses and approach their level, even just a little bit. This is the reason why we need to learn art.”

What is originality?

This story was told from my boss when I was in my early twenties. Although I’m embarrassed to share, I expressed my cheeky feeling to the great story: “To want to be unique” is a cliché, not unique itself. My boss answered quietly (the same as the teacher in the story) it would be human nature to want to be different from others. What a depthful thought my boss had! His face always comes up in my mind when having difficulty with the management of my own team. Anyway, I’ve been interested in originality, our karma, since then.

Originality stares us in the face

In the movie “Amadeus” Mozart was described as a genius―I had no doubt about that―but even he said, “I’ve never created an original melody.” It’s surprising, isn’t it? The interpretation of originality I like is that of Nietzsche. The German intellectual giant said, “Originality is to see something that is as yet without a name; that is as yet impossible to designate, even though it stares us in the face.” From the words of wisdom left by the two geniuses, we can see that originality is not creating something completely new from scratch but a new value by mixing up existing ideas.

The true originality in our furniture

Sometimes our products are said to be similar to Scandinavian furniture, but you would have already understood it’s meaningless to discuss it even further. What is more important is whether or not products have the true originality stated here. I’m sure there’s nothing but “the originality” in our furniture. It stems from the combination of western furniture culture and Japanese woodworking skills with a history of more than 1500 years.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

Photo Credit: https://cultbizztech.com/5-things-you-can-learn-from-the-genius-of-mozart/