IKIGAI | 生き甲斐

…develop our talent to fulfill our purpose…

According to Japanese culture, we all have an IKIGAI. But to find it, a deep and often prolonged self-search is necessary. Finding the IKIGAI brings satisfaction and meaning to our lives. It is “the purpose of life” or “the meaning of life”.

Its graphic representation is similar to the petals of a flower: What you love, what you are good at, with what you can earn a living and what the world needs. Only in the congruence of all of them is the IKIGAI, your reason for being.

Ikiru 生 きる means to live and kai 甲 斐 can be translated as value and means the realization of what one hopes and desires.

IKIGAI are natural and spontaneous actions, creating a connection between your values and with what you like to do and what you are good at.

Another concept associated with IKIGAI is the feeling of flowing when we are doing a task that we love. The process of allowing possibilities to flourish [jibun no kanousei, kaikasaseru katei「自分 の 可能性 開花 さ せ る 家 庭 」] .

By finding the IKIGAI and putting it into practice, you increase your self-esteem, because you feel that your presence in the world is justified. Happiness is the direct consequence.

The IKIGAI concept is closely related to longevity. Curiously, there is no word in Japanese that means ‘to retire’ with the exact meaning of “retire forever”, as we have in the West. As Jan Buettner, a National Geographic journalist who knows the Japanese country well, affirms, “having a vital purpose is so important in this culture and that is why the Japanese don’t have our concept of retirement.”

Kobayashi Tsukasa writes that “people can feel the authentic IKIGAI only when, based on personal maturity, the satisfaction of various desires, love and happiness, meet with a sense of the value of life, which advances towards its realization”


All about IKIGAI in the book «101 Creativity Projects. Vol.I by Sonia G Caballero, is a multi-faceted book that contains both art pedagogy, a catalogue of her own work, and artistic literature on Japanese art and customs. A beautiful and careful volume, which promises not to be the last, and which in my opinion will be fruitful and useful, not only for children but also for older adults.» by Joan Abelló

You can reserve your copy signed and dedicated by the author right here, where you can also download a free PDF sample.