The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo has been a popular object of fascination for American consumers since its 2014 publication in the United States. This study explores how Japanese and non-Japanese college students interpret the book and how it portrays Japanese culture. Marie Kondo’s identity as a Japanese woman is manifested in the material and aesthetic qualities of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and shapes readers’ perception of its content in strategic ways that play into American stereotypes surrounding Japanese culture and domesticity. Kondo’s tidying method is unattainable for many, leading those who cannot use it to view their life as lacking. Ultimately, this research demonstrates the importance of reading culture-based self-help literature with a critical eye and understanding how authors and editors guide readers to view their lifestyles and the representation of culture in particular ways.


Derderian, Elizabeth


Sociology and Anthropology


American Popular Culture | American Studies | Anthropology | Japanese Studies | Other Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Anthropology, decluttering, self-help, tidying, KonMari, clutter, self-help books

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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