The Blind Leading The Blind With the Ikigai Venn Diragram

If you don’t already know this the Ikigai Venn diagram of doing something that you love, that you are could at, that the world needs, and that you can be paid for is a Western misinterpretation of Ikigai concept. There is no Ikigai Venn diagram for the Japanese. And this Venn diagram came about when someone thought it would be a cool idea to simply replace the word “purpose” with “ikigai”. And he did this after watching a TedTalk where the word “ikigai” was briefly mentioned.

So the concept that everyone is sharing on the internet was created by someone who had almost no knowledge of the ikigai concept. And I actually had the pleasure of interviewing that person, and I also had the pleasure of interviewing the original creator of the Venn diagram of purpose, so if you go to my website and check out the podcast page you can find those 2 podcast interviews.

The Japanese Ikigai Literature Boom

So really all those life coaches and bloggers sharing the Venn diagram of purpose are just the blind leading the blind. If we want to understand what ikigai really is we should look at the literature that was written in the sixties and seventies and eighties on the ikigai concept by Japanese. There was actually an ikigai boom.

And the book that we should start with is this book by Kamiya Mieko, Ikiagi ni Tsuite. This book is still considered standard and is still referenced and researched by current-day authors and psychiatrists who study the ikigai concept. We can also look at the work of a Buddhist priest or Buddhist monk Niwano Nikkyo. who wrote this book “Ningen no Ikigai”, so Human Ikigai. And another book is “Ikigai towa Nanika?” written by Kobayashi Tsukasa. Unfortunately, none of these books have been translated into English. However, if you subscribe to my YouTube channel I’ll be sharing with you some of the insights I find in these books.

So the key takeaway really is; the Venn diagram of ikigai or the Ikigai Venn diagram is just a Western misinterpretation and if we really want to understand what ikigai means to Japanese we should look at the work from the ikigai boom of literature in the sixties, seventies and eighties.

I hope you found this video helpful. Please go to to download some worksheets or to listen to my podcasts with Japanese authors and researchers who have studied the ikigai concept.