Giving Back to Japan: Sharing the Beauty of Japanese Concepts

A person can possess both ikigai and kokorozashi. However, Tomoya Nakamura shares that ikigai is more applicable for personal goals, while kokorozashi is better for those conducting business; either way, having ikigai and kokorozashi are favorable to society.

Nick Kemp believes that the beauty of these concepts should be made known to other cultures as his way of gratitude for the experiences he has accumulated during his stay in Japan.

The difference between ikigai and kokorozashi

Nick: As you know, I've been studying ikigai in-depth for the last year and a half and I’ve been seeking to deeply understand many Japanese words. So I do have a question about kokorozashi.

It seems to be something quite ambitious, requiring the support and synergy of others. But can it be a modest meaningful business goal of a solo entrepreneur or even a non-business personal goal?

Tomoya: I think maybe the word ikigai may fit better for personal goals. Ikigai I think can be, for example, bonsai gardening, or creating poems, or calligraphy.

Because at GLOBIS we aspire to develop visionary leaders who create and innovate societies we have asked our students to have societal goals -- we make a distinction.

But for people's happiness, it could be either way. Ikigai itself would make a senior person happy to do gardening on Monday morning. At the same time, it will make a business leader happy to conduct their business on Monday morning.

So for an individual, either way is fine, ikigai is great and kokorozashi is also great. That's how I see it.

Nick: In the context of a solopreneur, someone like me, for example, I pretty much run my own business online, record podcasts, sell courses, and have a coaching program. I don't have any staff so In that context, I do have a fairly ambitious goal.

The vision probably is, at some stage go to Japan, interview more people and have staff that will help me. I don't see this as my ikigai, my learning about ikigai and sharing it with the world is something more for me.

I have other ikigai like music. So I wonder, even if you're only at the stage where you're working by yourself can you use this idea of kokorozashi?

Tomoya: First of all Nick, I admire and respect what you're doing.

Nick: Thank you.

Tomoya: Spreading the word of ikigai and I saw your website and some of your Venn charts on how you define ikigai.

Nick: Thank you.

Tomoya: Having influential people like Dr Ken Mogi talk, I think you already have supporters. Because of COVID-19, I think we are moving more online. So your activity itself, I think can be a big relief for many people.

If people can have ikigai or kokorozashi that makes people want to live to their full capacity, not just becoming a director or buying a Ferrari. But doing good for Melbourne people or the Tokyo community.

So I think your activity would gain a tailwind and I think at some point it will take off. 

Nick: I hope so, that is my goal. Japan has given so much to me, I spent 10 years in Japan, so I do feel this sense of obligation and gratitude to give back, and this opportunity presented itself. 


So this is my chance to give back and share with the world all these amazing philosophies. I see these words as philosophies and there are so many. I guess I've decided to focus on ikigai, but I'm also really interested in sharing what kokorozashi means.


So I hope that it doesn't have this misinterpretation as ikigai does in the west where it's this idea of doing something that you love, that you're good at, that the world needs, that can be paid for, which is not what it means to the people of Japan.

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