Intricate Process of Writing a Book

Nick and Kei Tsuda delve into the arduous journey that Kamiya likely undertook to complete her book Ikigai-ni-tsuite, as evidenced by the impressive references she included.

It took Kamiya seven years before she published her book

Nick: When I first started reading this book. I mean, I hadn't read Japanese for a long time. So it did require a lot of relearning. I've got lots of notes. And I'm sort of still working through this, I managed to get an audiobook version as well, which really helped. But when did you first read this book? And how has it impacted you?

Kei: So I read the book for the first time, just the past year. So that makes you the senpai. You've come to it and referencing to it for much longer than I have. And it was an eye-opening moment. Because I've read other books done by the Western authors on ikigai, but here it is, 50 or more years ago, a researcher by the name of Mieko Kamiya has written a book simply titled, About Ikigai.

And the depth and the breadth of the topic coverage was just burn on, there’s nothing else out there.

Nick: I mean, for me, reading her was a real challenge, but also all the references to other researchers, or poets, or artists, or psychologists or psychiatrists or philosophers, I was like, how does she know all this information? Like, she must have read so much back then.

Obviously, she didn't have access to something like the internet. And I just started looking up all these French, German, and Japanese names, trying to find out who was she referring to.

Kei: So she must have had this stack of books, probably in her reach. Plus, through her connections and network, she must have had people or library systems that she had access to, that she can lay her hands on all these books and publications. I didn't count, but they're literally probably hundreds of books and things that she is citing.

Nick: Yeah, I was gonna say her citations are quite extensive. But clearly writing was something she loved, she also kept a diary, and she wrote other books. But this was her first book, and perhaps the most impactful. And in the conclusion of the book, Kamiya wrote that it took her around seven years to finish the book. Do you want to touch on that?

Kei: I couldn't believe it, too. She also mentions that the amount of materials she had written to publish this book was about twice as much as the book itself. So it must have been such a long arduous process for her to make sure that whichever topic she would like to highlight, and maybe leave out.

So that process must have taken quite a long time. And she also mentioned that there's a very significant gap time, from the time that she had the materials kind of put together or come together, you have to pause for like a couple of years, then finally got back to it and carried it through the finish line.

There must have been some other life situations that may have been impacting, but the process that she has gone through, I can appreciate. It's so clear that the she's looked at, I think each of the topics from at least two if not three different angles. And probably chose the one that felt the best or right for her, and then published it.