ikigai book

Insights From Japan's Leading Ikigai Researchers

Many of the insights and perspectives that you’ll discover in this book are from guests on my podcast, The Ikigai Podcast, who graciously gave their time to share with me their authentic perspectives of ikigai. This includes the research and theories from two of Japan’s leading ikigai researchers, Professor Akihiro Hasegawa of Toyo Eiwa University and Dr Shinatro Kono of Alberta University, as well as words of wisdom from neuroscientist and author of The Little Book of Ikigai, Ken Mogi.

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IKIGAI-KAN - Feel a Life Worth Living will be released in January of 2022. To get notifications of a pre-release copy sign up to be notified.


A sneak peek!

Ikigai is a greatly misunderstood concept outside of Japan. It’s not a word from Okinawa. It’s not the Japanese secret to longevity. It’s not an entrepreneurial Venn diagram framework. It is not the pursuit of one life purpose. And it is not something all Japanese have. Most likely, everything you know about ikigai are romanticised Western misconceptions. This book will clear up these misconceptions and offer you an authentic perspective of ikigai in the context of Japanese culture.

As a Japanologist and someone who has been fascinated with Japanese culture for half their life, lived in Japan for 10 years and loves the Japanese people and language, these misunderstandings have long been a source of personal frustration and what drove me to write this book. By writing this book, I hope to bring true expression to a concept that will make you feel that life is worth living. 

Before you read on, I ask you to let go of what you know about ikigai and start with a beginner’s mind and open yourself up to all the possibilities ikigai has to offer. If you can let go of your preconceived notions about Ikigai, it will make you open to a unique, multifaceted Japanese cultural concept that will make you feel that life is worth living. And that's what Ikigai is all about – living a life that feels meaningful and worthwhile. This is something that is important to understand now, that more than anything, ikigai involves your feelings. Ikigai is not something you chase or achieve. Ikigai is something you feel. Keep this in mind as you read through the pages of this book.

An Authentic Perspective

The purpose of this book is to share with you an authentic perspective, the Japanese perspective of what makes life feel worth living. This book was written to help you understand that ikigai isn’t something you chase, but rather something you feel. This book will contradict most of the content you’ll find on the web and in best selling books that claim ikigai is the secret to longevity and a concept from Okinawa. 

Nicholas Kemp

While pleasant to imagine, romanticising ikigai as a happy island lifestyle or the secret to longevity prevents us from discovering what ikigai truly is and how it plays into Japanese culture. As you will discover in this book, your ikigai can come from many areas - from the simple things in your day-to-day living, the connections in your social world, your hobbies, but also by facing and overcoming life’s most painful challenges.

Nicholas Kemp ‧ Author



"Ikigai-kan consists of a challenging spirit with purpose and motivation toward everything one does and having the self-awareness of making a contribution to others."

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