“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” made Marie and her method a household name, but building her business has been a behind-the-scenes collaboration with her partner, Takumi Kawahara.
Marie and Takumi met in front of an elevator when they were both 21 years old. Their relationship as confidants evolved over time, and they married several years later as Marie’s tidying career was taking off. Takumi then quit his job to help Marie expand her work and became an integral part of KonMari, where he helps keep the company running.
Now also parents of three young children, part of what makes their partnership thrive is the combination of Marie’s quiet introspection and attention to detail alongside Takumi’s larger-than-life personality. Friendly, funny and bursting with joy, Takumi not only puts people at ease but truly embodies the KonMari philosophy.
In celebration of Father’s Day, each year we speak with Takumi about his current thoughts on fatherhood and family — his other big collaboration with Marie.
How do you plan on celebrating Father’s Day this year?
As of now, I don’t know. But I assume my kids and Marie have some idea. …Hopefully. [Laughs]
Which parts of parenting come most easily to you? What parts are more challenging?
The hardest thing about parenting is resisting loneliness while away from the children for long business trips. The easiest is giving them love.
What is your best advice for new fathers?
Parenting is such fun! Embrace that.
And another: Think about how you were raised and remember your own childhood – the way your parents treated you when you were growing up will have a big impact on how you treat your kids. Talk about it with your partner; discuss what you did and didn’t like about your own upbringing.
Is there anything that has surprised you about fatherhood?
I’ve learned that they are growing all by themselves, in their own way, and often, not as I expect.
What is your favorite activity to do with each of your children?
With Satsuki, it’s driving her to ballet lessons. With Miko, hearing her stories of what happened at school each day. They’re simply…interesting. [Laughs] And with George, it’s bedtime every night.
What’s the best lesson your kids have taught you?
To enjoy life is to be interested in everything — to be absorbed in every minute of it.
What do you hope your children will learn from you?
Life is joy.