Feeling Your Ikigai

Kamiya Mieko, a pioneering researcher of ikigai, stated that there are two ways to use the word ikigai: the source of ikigai or the feeling of ikigai -- ikigai-kan.

Yohei Nakajima explains how ikigai is more of a feeling -- the moment that makes people appreciate life.

Nick: In my research, especially with a writer, and someone who I like to refer to as the mother of ikigai psychology, Kamiya Mieko, she describes that there are two ways to use the word ikigai.

She offers an example that when someone says, this child is my ikigai, it refers to the source or target of ikigai. She's a psychiatrist, so she's framing it like that. Then when one feels ikigai, it's a state of mind, or this awareness or this feeling: ikigai-kan

You talk about feeling your ikigai in your blog post, would you like to also touch on that?

Yohei: Yeah, I think feeling ikigai as I mentioned is that sense of life, the moment makes you appreciate life. It's something that I think we all strive for. And again, this can be in a moment, this can be doing something that you love repeating, or as I mentioned, it could be something that you've done for the first time.

I think actually sometimes you get the most sense of fulfilment in life when you do something for the first time, which is counter-intuitive to purpose because you assume that purpose is something that you do over and over but I think to live a full life is not just to do the same thing over and over again, but to experience different parts of life.

Then I caveat that again, it does depend on the person. I think anybody can feel ikigai from anything. There are no set rules on if it's something that has to be done often, or if it's something that you do once, but it is something that gives you an appreciation for being in this world.

That feeling wherever it comes from, I think is what we strive for and what I think of when I think of feeling ikigai.

Nick: Yeah, I agree. I also like how you wrote that people who are around other people who have ikigai can almost feel it, hinting that it's contagious.

Yohei: Yeah, I guess I kind of touched on that a moment ago. But I do think it is contagious. 

I think when we're surrounded by people who are full of life, It's probably the most direct translation, it makes you excited and happy to appreciate life when you see someone appreciate life so much. 

I think on the flip side when you're around people who seem to not find joy in life that can, unfortunately, be contagious as well. But it goes both ways.