IKIGAI-KAN: A Japanese Perspective of the Ikigai Concept

To ensure that his book offers a cultural appreciation of ikigai, Nick Kemp interviews professionals, specifically Japan's leading ikigai researchers, to have a deeper understanding of ikigai in the context of Japanese culture.

Grab a copy of IKIGAI-KAN: Feel a Life Worth Living. Visit ikigaikan.com for more details.

IKIGAI-KAN offers a cultural appreciation of ikigai. 

Caitlin: I'm gonna put you on the spot a little bit, if you don't mind, and just pick up something that you said about, you know, respectfully thinking about Japanese culture, because this is something that you and I have discussed quite a lot in thinking about the book. 

How do you make sure that there is an appreciation, not an appropriation. And so I wonder if maybe you could expand a little bit on how you went about presenting this information, kind of as partly an outsider, but also kind of partly, someone who's connected through your family with Japan as well.

Nick: I mean, I guess this all really goes back to the day I decided something needs to be done about this misrepresentation, or cultural appropriation of ikigai. And this goes back almost four years, or three and a half years ago, when I first thought, well, maybe I could do something.

And at that time, I knew very little about ikigai, all I knew was it's not all these things that we're finding on the web. I knew it was deeper and broader. But I really didn't know anything more than that.

So I thought that the best thing to do would be to start a podcast and interview professors. And I was really hopeful that if I got one interview with a professor or an author, specifically a Japanese professor and author that probably could kickstart the podcast. And so I was very lucky.

And that happened with Professor Akihiro Hasegawa, who isn't a fluent speaker of English and he was really courageous coming onto my podcast and agreeing to answer all these questions about ikigai. 

So I think that's what I wanted to do for the book as well is to offer these perspectives from researchers to authors to Japanese artists to even everyday Japanese, and perhaps also include my own perspective and experiences of living in Japan to give a broader, more in depth, and more culturally, I guess, evidence-based perspective on this concept that is hard to define and explain. 

And I see the book almost as a long conversation with different people on the subject.