Credit: canva

By Ramsha Nayab

Feb 17, 2023

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Joyful Life

What does ikigai mean?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means your ‘reason for being.’ ‘Iki’ in Japanese means ‘life,’ and ‘gai’ describes value or worth. Your ikigai is your life purpose or your bliss. It’s what brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every day.

Credit: Canva

What are the benefits of ikigai?

To put it in more practical terms, your ikigai wakes you up in the morning and leads you away from a mundane, status-quo life-style. It empowers you and drives your actions, your purpose.

Credit: Canva

Does everyone​ have ikigai?

Yes. The Japanese believe ikigai exists within all of us and is as unique to me and the values and beliefs I hold dear, as it is to you and what brings joy and meaning to your life.

Credit: Canva

Why Pursue Ikigai?

Awakening your ikigai can lead to a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness. Neuroscientists, journalists, and ikigai adherents have pointed to the longevity of the Japanese people to establish that defining and following your life purpose in this way leads to a longer life span.

Credit: Canva

The Four Elements of Ikigai

This diagram shows ikigai as the convergence of four areas of life: what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.

Credit: Canva

Who invented ikigai?

If we really want to understand ikigai, then we should look at the work of psychiatrist and author, Meiko Kamiya. Kamiya could be considered as the Mother of Ikigai Psychology, being one of the first researchers to extensively study ikigai.

Credit: Canva