TOKYO-Marie Kondo is the most famous professional organizer on the planet. She’s parlayed her popular books into the hit Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The show is big in North America, but it’s even bigger in Japan.

Manipulation Westerner Time capitalizes on the Japanese fascination with American excess. “They are so fat, in their houses and their clothes. So much of everything!” said Tamoko Yakuri. “And there is so much crying from shame. It’s my favourite show!”

Tidying Up uses a formula popular in North America: self-help television facilitated by a self-appointed expert. The show portrays both physical and emotional transformations, and is referred to as  “Middle-class Hoarders” and “Queer Eye for Actual Closets”.

In the US version, Kondo is featured in subtitled interludes, doling out sage organizational advice. In the Japanese show segments, Kondo instead talks about the difficulty of convincing Americans to part with their holey underwear and their refusal to do the dishes. Kondo covers her mouth and giggles demurely while admitting she hopes not to be crushed by a towering pile of children’s toys.

Netflix launched Tidying Up on January 1 to coincide with the consumer urge to renew and improve. KonMari organizational products were made available across North America the same day with a mandate to spark joy and make money.

By Molly Donovan

I grew up in the USA, but don't hold that against me because I'm also Canadian. Just think of me as the mole.

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