Ikigai Being Widely Known

The emergence of Japanese concepts

Japanese culture and traditions have had a significant impact on other countries, and the concept of ikigai is a prime example of this influence. 

Ikigai is everywhere

Ken: Hi, as Nick introduced me, I am a neuroscientist, author, and broadcaster, based in Tokyo. My affiliations are: Sony computer, Science Lab, University of Tokyo, and I’m actually the head master of Ozora High School, which has actually 12,000 students. It’s a correspondence-based high school in Japan.

So if you’re interested in Sony, or University of Tokyo, or Ozora High School, please do get in touch with me. Because, for example, you want to talk to some senior high school students, then you can do that. If you want to visit the University of Tokyo, please do. And if you want to ask some questions about Sony, while it’s a corporate lab, so you know, there are some restrictions, but you can do that, too.

Now, with much further ado, as you know, Japanese culture and tradition have been influencing the world over the years. One famous example is The Book of Tea by Kazuo Okakura. This is what you call, probably ‘the bible of tea ceremony and the spirit of Zen.’

The other one is Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Nitobe Inazo, and this shows you how the samurai warriors used to live, their ethics and so on. And of course, Marie Kondo, about tidying up — sparkle joy, you know this, right?

And now, we have ikigai. It is about the significance of living, and the reason you get up in the morning. Ikigai is a combination of two words: iki means life, and gai means reason, so ikigai is literally ‘the reason for living.’

And my book, The Little Book of Ikigai or Awakening Your Ikigai, is now translated into 29 languages, in 31 countries, including Russia (I needed to make that joke). So these are some of the books in many languages, and probably what you might have one copy of that.

Now, ikigai has been covered in many talks, shows, medias, like CNN, Wallstreet Journal, and Suddeutsche Zeitung. So Ikigai is very much in the air these days.