The Japanese have an important concept that forms one of the cornerstones of their culture. It is called ikigai. The term is divided into two words. They are iki which means life and gai which means worth. It’s about a feeling of self-fulfillment and happiness that comes from within. Ikigai is about what brings joy into your life. It could be your job. But it could just as well be your family, a hobby, or an interest. Add to this the concept of yarigai. This speaks to the value of doing something. Hatarakigai is the value of working. Combined, these concepts create a ‘formula’ for happiness for the Japanese. Ikigai has to do with your future and what you plan to do to fulfill yourself and your dreams. It creates a sense of hope and something to look forward to. A sense of purpose allows you to face adversity and conquer it. This is an essential aspect of the concept of happiness in Japanese culture. In Western culture, happiness emphasizes feeling good and having positive thoughts. Japanese culture, however, also takes into account the ability to be hopeful in the face of obstacles as being part of a state of happiness.
Being conscious of what makes you happy and satisfied is based on emotion, not logic. This is difficult to assign to the Japanese culture with its reputation for clinical efficiency and scientific genius. But the Japanese are taught from the time they are young to be in touch with their feelings. They are encouraged to identify their ikigai and make the most of it. Feeling self-fulfilled and happy keeps you looking and feeling younger. The positive feelings it gives you and a sense of purpose make you feel invigorated and alive. Happiness prevents comfort eating, which is the cause of a lot of people’s obesity. Finding ikigai and acting on it seem to benefit Japanese women and keep them looking and feeling more youthful.