Wednesday, 29 June 2022

The intersectionality of Ikigai

A Japanese concept, Ikigai, means “the happiness of always being busy" (Garcia & Miralles, 2017, p. 8). Ikigai is not just about work, it is about who we are when we are learning; when we dream; when we play; when we are en famille. Finding our personal ikigai is supposed to take time. It is like the slow food movement, or the golden key technique for the 12 Step programme (Waters, n.d.). There is no rushing the personal discovery of our ikigai.

Apparently drawing on an earlier work by Akihiro Hasegawa, Garcia and Miralles were surprised that ikigai had not previously been translated or published in the West. While living in Japan and discussing "logotherapy" - effectively our values-base for work, they wrote a short book on the topic in Spanish. This was then translated by Cleary and published by Penguin. 

We need to consider the four questions which hold ikigai at their heart. We - or our clients - need to dig deeply into these, and to ask ourselves (2017, p. 12; Oliver, 2017) the following:

  1. Passion: what do we enjoy?
  2. Profession: what are we good at?
  3. Mission: what do we think that society needs us to do?
  4. Vocation: what can we get paid to do?

At some point, with good quality reflection, we are going to start to see connections between the separate answers, so discovering the interconnectedness, or the intersectionality at our core which is our ikigai. 

To the Japanese, ikigai is the secret to staying young and active, even though we are growing older; it helps us to carry on when we are tired; it helps to ground us when we are surrounded by puffery; and it helps to centre us when we are immersed in chaos (Garcia & Miralles, 2017; Oliver, 2017) 

A powerful idea, which deserves some careful consideration. 



Internet Archive. (2022). Ikigai image.

GarcĂ­a, H., & Miralles, F. (2017). Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life (trans. H. Cleary). Penguin.

Oliver, L. (2017). The Japanese Concept of Ikigai could be the secret to a long, meaningful life.

Waters, O. (n.d.). The Golden Key.

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