Ikigai and Ikiru imi

Ikiru imi is another Japanese term similar to ikigai; in her research, Dr. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva found out that suicide website visitors often use this term. What is ikiru imi? How does it differ from ikigai?

Dr. Chikako explains the difference between ikiru imi and ikigai.

Nick: A word that you introduced or you talk about in your article is similar to the word ikigai, which my audience would be very familiar with. But there's another word related to ikigai, which is ikiru imi.

So would you like to explain what ikiru imi is and how it's different from Ikigai?

Chikako: Ikiru imi literally translates as meaning in life in English; it's commonly known and used. In fact, when I was reading suicide websites for seven years, suicide website visitors often use the term ikiru imi or imi.

What's the meaning of life? What's the point of living? Ikiru imi as a word has the connotation of being the grand question addressing what might be the most important in life in a somewhat abstract and lofty manner. 

So it sometimes evokes philosophical, ideological, and ontological questions for many. So many college students would say ikiru imi, that sounds too lofty, I might not have that one. But I can tell you about my ikigai.

So that was probably how these college students often distinguish between ikiru imi as something lofty, as opposed to ikigai as something concrete, something maybe more of a small scale thing and relation oriented.

Nick: And just on ikigai, how would you define it?

Chikako: I actually read scholars in Japan who did extensive studies on ikigai, and how they defined ikigai as worth of living. I think it's a really good word, because it means more than just a kind of goal in life or something. 

But I also use the word purpose in life. Because ikiru imi is more like meaning in life and ikigai is more like a purpose in life, or what makes life worthy? That's probably how I would  define it -- it's like feeling oriented. 

It's about how people feel about their life. So in some way, it's less common to be that way for some people.