what is ikigai

What is Ikigai? Discover the Japanese Secret to a Meaningful Life

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Ikigai (生き甲斐), as explained by Wikipedia, is a Japanese concept referring to the reason for being, a source of value in one’s life or life’s worth. It represents a confluence of what one loves, what one is good at, what the world needs, and what one can be paid for. The philosophy of Ikigai interlaces deeply with cultural and societal values, offering an insightful perspective on happiness and life fulfillment.

Origin and History

The word Ikigai merges two Japanese words: ‘iki’, relating to life, and ‘gai’, denoting value or worth. Ikigai’s roots are ancient, intertwined with Japanese culture, stretching back to the Heian period (794 to 1185), a time when the Japanese began delving into life and happiness’s nuances. Discover more about this era and the evolution of Ikigai at Japan Go.

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai transcends the quest for passion; it’s an outlook on life striving to harmonize diverse aspects, namely what you love, what the world needs, what you excel at, and what can bring financial sustenance. The convergence of these elements crystallizes one’s Ikigai, a harmonizing force not just about pursuing what you love but aligning life and career with values, passions, and beneficial global contributions. Learn more about the structure and elements of Ikigai from Positive Psychology.

How to Find Your Ikigai?


Embark by formulating a list addressing the four Ikigai questions: identifying what you love, what the world needs, your skills, and financially rewarding paths. Reflect sincerely on these answers. MasterClass offers additional perspectives on this reflective journey.

Venn Diagram:

Craft a Venn diagram with four intersecting circles, each symbolizing an Ikigai element. Insert your list answers into the corresponding circles. The overlapping space symbolizes your Ikigai, providing a visual representation as explained by MindTools.

Be Honest:

Embrace honesty in this exploration. Objective assessment of your skills, passions, and potential global contributions is fundamental.

How to Implement Ikigai?

Set Realistic Goals:

Fragment your ultimate Ikigai into tangible, smaller objectives. This structured approach maintains motivation and focus. For a comprehensive understanding, explore the 10 rules of Ikigai on CNBC.

Continuous Learning:

Vigorously pursue skills and knowledge in sync with your Ikigai. Lifelong learning and growth are pillars in realizing and upholding your life’s purpose.

Stay Balanced:

Ensure your Ikigai pursuit doesn’t overshadow life’s other vital segments, like health, relationships, and personal well-being. Balancing these elements is paramount for genuine fulfillment, a concept further illustrated by BBC.

Ikigai in Everyday Life

In Japan, Ikigai transcends conceptual boundaries; it’s a lived philosophy. Many Japanese find their Ikigai in both monumental and mundane daily activities, contributing to the nation’s impressive life expectancy, diminished stress levels, and overall life satisfaction. Dive deeper into Ikigai’s impact on everyday life with The Globe and Mail.


In essence, Ikigai embodies a profound, holistic approach to discovering life’s purpose and fulfillment, balancing passion, profession, vocation, and mission. It’s not an instant solution but a life-encompassing journey of exploration, reflection, and commitment. By grasping and integrating Ikigai principles, individuals can unearth harmony, purpose, and joy in daily existence and make a positive global imprint. Delve into practical applications of Ikigai with Medium and understand its intricate facets from Fingerprint for Success.

要約: イキガイは、生きる意味または生命の価値を指す日本の概念です。これは、あなたが愛するもの、あなたが得意なもの、世界が必要とするもの、そしてあなたが報酬を得られるもの、これら4つの要素の交差点です。イキガイを見つけるプロセスには、自己反省、実際的な目標の設定、継続的な学習、および生活の他の重要な側面とのバランスが含まれます。日本では、イキガイは単なる概念以上のものであり、多くの日本人が日常の小さな活動で彼らのイキガイを見つけます。この哲学は、個人が毎日の生活で調和、目的、および喜びを見つけるのに役立ち、世界に肯定的な影響を与えるのに役立ちます。

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