012 – Dr Dean Fido on the Ikigai 9

In this episode of the Ikigai Podcast, I speak with Dr. Dean Fido, on his translation and validation of the Ikigai-9.

The Ikigai-9 is a psychometric tool published and validated by Japanese researchers Tadanori Imai, Hisao Osada and Yoshitsugu Nishimura.

It was then translated and validated in a UK sample in 2019 by Dean Fido and Yasuhiro Kotera of the University of Derby with the assistance of Kenichi Asano, from Mejiro University.

The Ikigai-9 is used as a means of measuring Ikigai across the dimensions of;

  • optimistic and positive emotions toward life
  • active and positive attitudes towards one's future
  • and acknowledgment of the meaning of one's existence.

The Ikigai-9

The Ikigai-9 consists of nine items measuring one’s reason for being.

The Ikigai-9 Statements

  • I believe that I have some impact on someone.
  • My life is mentally rich and fulfilled.
  • I am interested in many things.
  • I feel that I am contributing to someone or to society.
  • I would like to develop myself.
  • I often feel that I am happy.
  • I think that my existence is needed by something or someone.
  • I would like to learn something new or start something.
  • I have room in my mind.

The Ikigai-9 has high internal reliability and presents a logistically-convenient measure of ikigai for English-speaking populations.

Over the summer, 349 participants (with a mean age of 35 years) took part in our research project; completing our translated measure of ikigai alongside previously established and validated measures of wellbeing, depression, anxiety, and stress.

The results suggest that above and beyond the influences of demographic variables such as age and sex, the greater the presence of ikigai that somebody reports, the better their wellbeing more generally, and the lower their depressive symptoms more specifically.

Moreover, and surprisingly to us, the self-report levels of ikigai which people experience in the UK, were very similar to those consistently reported in Japan.

These results are vital in terms of opening up discussion (and testable hypotheses) as to the potential role of ikigai as an additional instrument to the toolkit of healthcare professionals world-wide. This is especially important when we acknowledge that depression is thought to impact the lives of more than 300 million people; contributing to higher incidents of suicide, as well as wider financial and resource implications for health care providers.

Dean Fido

Dean Fido

Dean has a  Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Neuroscience. He currently lectures in Criminal Psychology at University of Derby, in the city of Derby, England.

You can follow Dean on Twitter

The Ikigai-9 Study

Download Dean's Ikigai-9 study from the link below:

English Translation and Validation of the Ikigai-9 in a UK Sample



  • An 8 week program
  • Weekly webinars with Q&A
  • Japanese guest presenters 
  • Private coaching
  • The Find Your IKIGAI course
  • The IKIGAI eBook 
  • Coaching materials