Defining Ikigai – Ikigai Sources & Ikigai-Kan

Defining Ikigai

Hey, it’s Nick kemp here, from and in this video we are going to define the ikigai concept.

To properly define the word ikigai we need to look at the work of Kamiya Mieko and her book Ikigai ni Tsuite. Tsuite means relating to, so relating to ikigai, but the title of this book is often translated as On the Meaning of Life.

In this book, Kamiya offers a 2 part definition for ikigai. For the first part of her ikigai definition, she describes an ikigai object or an ikigai source, which she defined as ikigai. An example of an ikigai object or man ikigai source could be a person, an activity, an event or even a past memory. Then the second part of the ikigai definition is ikigai-kan. Now, kan translates to feeling, perception or awareness.

So an example she gives in her book is a child. So, if you’re a parent, your child could be your ikigai source or your ikigai object. And ikigai-kan would be the feelings you have for your child. And those feelings would include love, joy, excitement for the future, pride and so on.

So when you’re contemplating your own ikigai, look to your ikigai sources, and yes you can have more than one, and then reflect on the feelings you have for those sources.

Another thing that Kamiya pointed out in order to find our ikigai was knowing our values. So, we need to know our values and we must be certain that our values or our value system is our own. Because a large part or an important kind of ikigai is living in harmony with your values.

So to summarize, ikigai is defined as having an ikigai object, and having ikigai-kan – feelings related to that object. And also, in order to really find our ikigai, we need to be living in harmony with our values.

So this is the work of Kamiya Mieko, and we really could consider Kamiya Mieko as the mother of Ikigai psychology.




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