Japanese wisdom For a Fulfilling and Meaningful Life

Ikigai has become one of Japan's most misunderstood words and culturally appropriated concepts. It’s not a word from Okinawa. It’s not the Japanese secret to longevity. It's not a Venn diagram showing you how to find your bliss or become a successful entrepreneur. And it’s not the pursuit of a single life purpose. 

This book clears up these misconceptions and offers an authentic perspective of ikigai in the context of Japanese culture.

Say goodbye to destination addiction and start living a fulfilling and meaningful life with the Japanese wisdom of ikigai, a life philosophy involving daily rituals, living your values, building intimate relationships, fulfilling your life roles and pursuing a life goal with a healthy sense of urgency.

A concept related to eudaimonia and existential positive psychology, ikigai offers you a way to live with motivation and resilience in times of hardship, opening yourself up to the path of self-actualisation.


The Ikigai Kan book

IKIGAI-KAN: Feel a Life Worth Living

This evidence-based book clears up the misconceptions and romantic notions and offers an authentic perspective of ikigai in the context of Japanese culture by bringing together insights from Japan’s research pioneer Mieko Kamiya to current day experts and authors

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



If the truth matters to you and you are fed up with Western interpretations and romanticised notions of ikigai and Japanese culture in general, then you will appreciate how this book provides an accurate cultural context so that you can apply traditional Japanese wisdom to achieve a life worth living.

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. 

If you are to purchase my book, 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. 

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