In-Depth Interviews with Ikigai Experts

How can we gain a deeper understanding of the impact of social robots on the ikigai of older adults?

To gain clarity on the possible effect of social robots to older adults, Waki Kamino interviewed 12 'ikigai experts', including academics who have studied ikigai, qualified ikigai advisors, and individuals who work in ikigai centers.

Exploring the impact of social robots on ikigai

Nick: To explore how social robots might be able to support people's ikigai, you performed in-depth interviews with 12 ikigai experts who formally support and/or study older adults. So we should be clear this is about older adults, your study.

And you also did some workshops, which I'm quite interested in. So let’s start with these experts you interviewed. I think I know a few of them. So who were they? And what was some of the questions you asked them?

Waki: Yeah. So we interviewed academics who studied ikigai first. So Dr. Akihiro Hasegawa and Dr. Gordon Mathews. Dr. Hasegawa is a leading scholar in ikigai psychology in Japan. And Dr. Gordon Mathews is an anthropologist whose work, kind of this, cross-culture comparison to ikigai and touches upon socio-cultural implications.

And then we also interviewed people who work at these organizations, government funded organization to formally support older adults’ ikigai here. There are places called ikigai centers or ikigai information centers.

And so the employees, particularly, we were interested in, what kind of programs they run and how exactly they support older adults’ ikigai. And then we also interviewed this program called ikigai advisors in Japan. So these are certified older adults themselves, who are qualified to give advice to other older adults in the community to make their lives more fulfilling.

And we also invited people who run minamino Gakuen, senior citizen’s college, the oldest senior citizen’s college in some sort, and yeah, they promote ikigai. So we invited all these people. For the questions, we asked about what they do and how they define ikigai.

As well as what kind of factors they observe that influence ikigai on older adults. We also kind of asked what they thought about robots and the use of social robots to support older adults. So these are some of the questions.

Nick: Yeah, there were a lot of questions. So looks like quite a project, interviewing these experts and partaking or organizing these workshops, and speaking to these ikigai advisors. Maybe when I'm 65, I'll return to Japan and see if I can become an ikigai advisor.

Waki: The textbook is really thick, it's like, Oh, my goodness, it's actually pretty hardcore, the training. You have like quizzes and everything, and the textbook is really thick.

Nick: I'll have to start Googling and see if I can find something online.