Unique Sources of Ikigai

In Japan, families pass down their crafts from generation to generation. Hence, the younger generations have something to hold onto that can be a source of their ikigai. However, Ted Bonnah shares that for some, it is hard to find ikigai in their work, which is why it is essential to have hobbies that can keep them motivated in life.

People have their different sources of ikigai

Ted: What I find interesting here is you see people who are in the arts or crafts and they're like, fifth generation doing it. So they've got this ikigai, but ikigai is part of their family structure. So it's pure support and encouragement the whole time. 

The hard part of finding an ikigai and going with it is coming from a background of blue collar workers. It's not yarigai no shigoto, it's yarushikanai, you got to do it to survive. So those are the levels; the lowest level is yarushikanai, I got to do this job or else I'm gonna starve.

Yarigai garu, I'm gonna have a good lifestyle, but it's also, I feel like I'm doing good enough, it's not my dream. And then you get ikigai, it's my dream. But that dream thing, that start is to realize that that's what you have to face.

So you've got a family. Like this ebizo, who is the traditional Japanese Kabuki guy. And he sells out, he refreshed Kabuki and all this stuff. But he's like fifth generation. And he went through a period of getting drunk and getting in fistfights in Tokyo 15 years ago, because he had the reverse pressure.

He's like, well, I'm supposed to be fifth generation Kabuki actor. But is this my ikigai to just do what my dad and my granddad and his granddad do? Is that an ikigai?

And I think, Japanese on the whole, because this society has existed for so long, and you have these 1000 year old hotels, and tea salons that are older in my country, public washrooms that are twice as old as Australia.

Because you have these really long traditions, then if part of your family tradition is ikigai then you're gonna go with that easier, but on the reverse part is if your family have been poor who are disenfranchised and have been factory workers, it's going to be harder to break out of that, too.