The Ikigai Framework

The framework shared online and social media as the Ikigai framework is actually just the purpose Venn diagram. The concept of Ikigai as understood by Japanese is very different from the interpretation by the West. There is no frameworks Japanese use to find or attain ikigai. Ikigai is something most Japanese will tell you they feel.

Not Ikigai

In the words of Japanese ikigai research pioneer Mieko Kamiya;

"The most genuine aspect about ikigai is that it involves your feelings. Ikigai is something you feel. It is related to one’s sense of self-worth and personal values. And is more future-oriented than happiness".

The Kamiya Framework

I like to think of Mieko Kamiya as the Mother of Ikigai Psychology. While woman go underrepresented in the fields of philosophy and psychology, her seminal book, Ikigai-ni-Tsuite (About Ikigai) is still considered standard by current-day Japanese researchers, professors, and psychologists, despite it being published in 1966. 

In her book, Kamiya asserted that for an individual to experience ikigai-kan, the feeling of ikigai, seven types of personal needs to be satisfied.

These seven needs are:

  • the need for life satisfaction
  • the need for change and growth
  • the need for a bright future
  • the need for resonance
  • the need for freedom
  • the need for self-actualisation
  • and the need for meaning and value

In addition to these 7 needs Kamiya wrote on the importance of having a sense of purpose stating:

All human beings are supported by a more or less vague sense of purpose. It's a sense of responsibility for what you're living for, and it's close to what you have to do in life. Those that don't discover a sense of purpose or their mission will suffer an unfulfilling existence, while those that do will experience a strong ikigai awareness. 

To recognise her contribution to ikigai I have created the Ikigai framework below.

The Kamiya Ikigai Framework

The Kamiya Ikigai Framework

We can see that the concept of Ikigai as practiced by Japanese is very different from the misunderstood idea by the West. Ikigai is not the ‘Purpose’ framework reinterpreted, but rather a state of being, as well as the practice of mindfulness and gratitude. Ikigai can be the taking of joy in small pleasures as well as the pursuit of a life-defining goal.

Ken Mogi's 5 Pillars of Ikigai

If you are looking for another framework to draw inspiration and knowledge from, then Ken Mogi’s 5 Pillar framework will serve you well. The 5 pillars are a support framework“they are not mutually exclusive or exhaustive, nor do they have a particular order or hierarchy”.

Ken Mogi 5 Pillars of Ikigai