The Definition of Ikizurasa

Japan is filled with fascinating terms that they use in their daily conversations. One of those is the term ikizurasa. What is ikizurasa?

Dr. Chikako Ozawa de-Silva discusses the meaning of ikizurasa (hard to live), a term people would hear often when they visit Japan.

Nick: Yeah, very wise. So another word that's interesting. I had heard of the word, ikizurai. But a word you introduced is ikizurasa. What does that mean? Because that was mentioned in your interviews.

Chikako: In English, probably the difficulty of living or finding it hard to live. I think this would capture what ikizurasa is. I think actually it is a term you hear often if you visit Japan.

Ikizurasa, it's tough to live. I think two years ago I was in Hiroshima, right after a conference in the bookstore. It's just a small bookstore. There was an entire section on ikizurasa.

Nick: Oh, really?

Chikako: Yeah. Dozens of books on ikizurasa. I couldn't help but take a picture. Back in the 90s, Japan went through the era of healing -- everything was healing. So that was when I was still living in Japan, Yoshinojida.

A few decades later, Japan moved from the healing society to ikizurasa, the difficulty of living in society. So it's almost like this is something I need to think more about.

In the 90s, what I often saw in the popular magazines was iyashi. This is so healing. So people were aware of the need for healing. Now it's almost like it advanced to the next level -- it's ikizurasa.

Nick: That's really interesting. You mentioned iyashi, because that's something I learned from Shintaro Kono, a professor who's an expert in leisure, and he interviewed college students. One of their most valued experiences was iyashi.

So he mentioned there was tanoshi, gambari, shigeki, and iyashi. This idea of iyashi was comfort among your friends; that you could be comfortable with your friends. So it's interesting how it has this other perspective of healing that you've just mentioned.

So I always find it fascinating. I learned so much from these podcast interviews.