Photo by Ahyoung Nguyen

Japanese brands coming to Westfield Santa Anita

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By Angela Lu and Anny Li Wu

The Japanese are known around the world for producing high-quality products. While Daiso, Miniso, Muji, and Uniqlo are popular stores in Asia, Angelenos did have a chance to shop at them with the exception of Daiso. Now, Japanese-influenced products have finally arrived in Arcadia. While most products from these stores are similar, combined, they can fill a new dorm room with furniture or a backpack for back-to-school.

“[I shop at] Daiso and Muji,” sophomore Gina Huynh said. “I enjoy their pens and decorations, especially pens from Muji; they’re the only pens I use.”

Muji opened at Westfield Santa Anita mall in mid-January, marking it their fifth store in Los Angeles. Muji originated in Japan in 1980 and has expanded to over 700 stores worldwide. Known for their simplicity and minimalistic designs in their products, Muj, which translates to “no brand, quality goods,” allows its customers to bring their own style to their products.

“I knew about [Muji] from my friends when I went to the mall with them,” junior Cathy Do said. “I haven’t been to any other shop that was similar.”

Uniqlo, another popular Japanese store with over a thousand stores around the world, is an apparel company that originated from Yamaguchi, Japan in the 1940s. It started off selling men’s clothing, but in the 1980s, its economic success and rapid growth led them to become the store they are today—Uniqlo, a combination of the words “unique” and “clothing.” While Uniqlo stores can only be found in malls that are miles away, the grand opening of Uniqlo in the Santa Anita mall has made people thrilled to try out their apparel.

“I first saw Uniqlo at the Glendale Galleria and it was kinda cool because it wasn’t really something I’d heard about before,” sophomore Katie Phan said. “Now that it is in the 626 area, it is more convenient to shop at Uniqlo.”

Miniso is a Japanese designer brand that was founded in 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. They are recognized for their low prices ranging from $1.50 to $30. Miniso gained their popularity from consumers ages 18 to 35, according to its website. They have opened over 1,000 stores within three years in more than 50 countries. Their first store in the United States opened in Pasadena on April 21, 2017.

“I knew about Miniso from my sisters,” sophomore Hanson Phan said. “Their products are really high end for a good price range.”

Daiso is a popular Japanese store known for $1.50 household items, serving quality, variety, and uniqueness. When they first started, Daiso was known as Yano Shoten that sold 100-yen products (equivalent to 91 cents) in vending machines in the streets. Daiso has expanded to over 3,000 stores worldwide, carrying over 70,000 different products.

“I knew Daiso about two years ago when I heard about, ‘Everything for $1.50’,” senior Fionna Luu said. “I haven’t been to any similar shops; Daiso’s pretty unique.”

With the grand opening of Uniqlo and future coming of Miniso, people will need a couple of hours to spare in these stores—especially since Westfield Santa Anita will be home to Daiso, Miniso, Muji, and Uniqlo.

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