Ikigai is an Experiential Concept

What's the best way to explain the concept of ikigai? As for Yasuhiro Kotera, ikigai is an experiential concept -- it cannot be explained without experience.

Nick: So when you saw the westernized interpretation of Ikigai, the four circle Venn diagram that has Ikigai as the center sweet spot of doing something that you love that you're good at that the world needs and that you can be paid for? Do you remember when you saw it, and what was your first thought?

Yasuhiro: I thought that's very interesting, and also something that people in the West are often good at. Beautiful, beautiful presentations. Wow, these are really westernized kinds of things. It can help somewhat to cross the bridge of different cultures and the background.

So that's helpful. But at the same time, when I do research, I'm also mindful of the essence of Ikigai, because, for example, what science is: science is about dissecting, the word origin of Science is dissecting. 

And that's what science does, you categorize the whole into parts and identify key parts of symptoms. And then, if you improve that one part, that whole can improve significantly, that's kind of just science. But Ikigai is more for the Eastern, I mean, Ikigai is the Eastern concept where the whole is very important. 

And as Dr. Kamiya who is one of the pioneers of Ikigai said, Ikigai cannot be explained without experience -- it's experiential concepts. In science or in research, it's very helpful to dissect things, all experiences into parts. 

But when you discuss Ikigai, it's not just one psychological concept. It's more about the experiential sense that needs to be considered when you discuss Ikigai. So that's something that I'm very mindful of when I do research into Ikigai.

IKIGAI-KAN: Feel a Life Worth Living

Ikigai is a greatly misunderstood concept outside of Japan. It’s not a word from Okinawa. It’s not the Japanese secret to longevity. It’s not an entrepreneurial Venn diagram framework.

This evidence-based book clears up the misconceptions of Japan's most misunderstood word and culturally appropriated concept and offers an authentic perspective of the concept in the context of Japanese culture.

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