‘Ikigai’: The Japanese Morning Routine Promising To Find Your Life Purpose

‘Ikigai’: The Japanese Morning Routine Promising To Find Your Life Purpose

In recent years there have been many attempts to explain and teach “happiness” rituals and philosophies from different cultures.

And I love it!

There’s so much we can learn from ancient and alternative cultures; and there’s so much to be said for trying different things because, well, different things work for different people.

One of my favourites among these cultural offerings is the Japanese approach … Ikigai. And this great article in Elle magazine explains some more about it …

From yoga retreats in the Himalayan mountains, and weekly mindfulness classes to restore balance, to downloading mediation apps such as Headspace, many of us spend our lives (and paycheques) on trying to achieve happiness and fulfilment.

However, despite trying the Danish idea of finding contentment in cosiness with the pursuit of ‘hygge’, and moderate living with he Swedish idea of ‘lagom’, so many of us are still struggling.

Until now, perhaps.

Enter ‘ikigai’, a lifestyle concept from Japan. In Japanese culture, it’s widely believed that everyone has an ‘ikigai’ – a reason to jump out of bed each morning.

Instead of suggesting we slow down to find life’s meaning, ikigai involves sticking your finger out, actively flagging down a raison d’être.

What it means

‘Ikigai’ is a Japanese word that roughly translates as ‘reason for being’. Basically, it’s all about finding purpose in life; working out what makes you happy and keeps you motivated.

Hector Garcia, co-author of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, explains the word uses the characters ‘iki’, or ‘life’, and ‘kai’, meaning the result of a certain action.

In essence, it’s all about finding the answer to the big question: ‘What should I do with my life?’

In Japanese culture, ‘Ikigai’ can be broken down into four main pillars of fulfilment (more on this later):

  • What you love (Passion and Mission)
  • What you are good at (Passion and Profession)
  • What you can be paid for (Profession and Vocation)
  • What the world needs (Mission and Vocation)
woman meditating | ELLE UK


Ken dos Remedios of the Hyper Japan cultural festival told the Independent: ‘Although it is not impossible to have ‘ikigai’ without social connections, it is easier to feel ‘ikigai’ by creating social connections, perhaps because of the ingrained social connections Japanese society promotes and Japanese individuals are conditioned to seek.’

The concept has its origins in the Japanese island of Okinawa, which is said to be home to the largest population of centenarians in the world. Therefore, it is thought that ikigai may not only hold the key to happiness, but also longevity…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE