The Value in Ikigai, Yarigai, Hatarakigai, Asobigai and Even Shinigai

Ikigai is not a unique word to the Japanese. In this video, Nick explains how the Japanese view ikigai and other words like it.


Hey, it’s Nick Kemp here from and in this video, I want to talk about the value of.


The word ikigai is made up of the verb ikigiru and the suffix gai. Ikiru means to live, and gai means value or worth. So combined as ikigai, the word means the value of living.

Now the important point is Japanese relate it to daily living, So if you know what things in your life are worth living for on a day to day basis, then you know your ikigai. And yes, you can have more than one.

Now gai is also added to other Japanese verbs. So for example, the word yaru, which means to do, becomes yarigai, the value of doing. The verb hataraku, which means work, becomes hatarakigai, the value of working. The verb play, which is asobu, becomes asbigai, the value of playing. And even the word shinu, which means to die, becomes shinigai, and that means the value of dying.

Yaru – Yarigai – the value of doing.Hataraku – Hatarakigai -the value of working.Asobu – Asobigai – the value of playing.Shinu – Shinigai – the value of dying.

So what can we learn from this?

While the concept of ikigai is deeply personal and important to each individual Japanese, the word itself is just a regular word and it isn’t treated with any special significance. So it’s used in daily conversation like some of these other words I introduced you to in this video.

So I think this will help you, get one step closer to understanding ikigai.