Three Ikigai Leisure Concepts

In his study, Shintaro Kono mentioned three ikigai theories in relation to his findings on leisure: keiken, houkou-sei, and ibasho.

How do they relate to ikigai? Shintaro explains each theories.

Nick: In your study that I read, you talked about three theories. I found them really insightful and interesting. Would you like to introduce those three ikigai theories in relation to your findings on leisure?

Shin: Sure. There are three core concepts. One of them is what I call keiken. In Japanese, it means literary experience. In English, I would say that it’s a valued experience in a way that you personally value and it also of course means that it should be valued in society, in a group and all that kind of stuff as well.

We identified specifically four key types of experience value and one being enjoyment or tanoshimi in Japanese. And second is effort, making effort or gambari in Japanese. The third is stimulation or shigeki in Japanese, doing something new, and the last is comfort or iyashi feeling relaxed in being who you are and things like that.

We found that each of those four types of experiences contribute to ikigai feeling. That’s not surprising. Probably I shouldn’t get into each theory yet, but it’s basically, keiken is about the here and now.

It’s a personal life, your personal experience in this current life. And the second theory is what I call houkou-sei. In Japanese houkou-sei, that means what I call life directionality. It’s about the temporal , over time, it’s a temporal aspect of ikigai. From past to present life to the future.

The question here is, can you make some sort of association between how past experiences contributed to who you are now and what you’re doing, and then how that leads you or how you think leads to your future goals.

But again the key here, keiken is still existing here because the present life is characterized by the keiken or your current valued experiences. 

The last one is what I call ibasho or interpersonal, authentic relationship. It’s really an interpersonal dimension of ikigai. Now, again, it begins with a keiken. Really keiken is the core and heart of my ikigai theories.

In ibasho theory, basically what it’s saying is that, yes, it’s great that you had a valuable experience, now the question is can you share them with close others, maybe in your case, maybe your son for example.

Can you share it with him in such a way that, basically, he values it too. One way is to just include them, and involve that person into the same activity. Do it together, or the other way is to tell them about what’s going on in your keiken (valued experiences) and you get the feedback. It's an indirect way of sharing.

Three theories, keiken is about the here and now, personal life. Houkou-sei is over time, temporal aspect. Ibasho is the interpersonal dimension of it. I see three… Well, two dimensions. Temporal, interpersonal and really the core is keiken.