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haikaiTALKS: a saturday gathering! 16th december - IKIGAI

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

haikaiTALKS: Japanese aesthetics - ikigai - a saturday gathering_under the banyan tree

host: Kala Ramesh

16th December 2023

Japanese aesthetics: Ikigai (ee-kee-ga-ee) A Reason for Being

We repeat this for one more week!


A reason for being. A direction or purpose in life.

I was greatly excited by the aesthetic concept of ikigai (ee-kee-ga-ee). When translated literally, iki means “life; alive” and kai can be translated as “reason; worthiness; fruitful; effective.”

** But literal translation doesn’t provide sufficient insight into the broader significance of the term, which may be rendered as the purpose or meaning of life, or what makes life worth living.

Keiko has a valid point:

Please allow me to clarify the definition of ikigai more accurately. The standard concept of ikigai in Japan does not include one’s temporary joy or passion in appreciation of nature or other things. Ikigai depends on the extent to which one is involved in the subject. For example, one of my friends loves the sky and clouds so she takes pictures of them every day. I can say this is definitely her ikigai; however, if one’s joy/passion doesn’t include such a continuous action, we do not call it ikigai. Ikigai is a reason to live deeply rooted in oneself.


Keiko Izawa has added:


  • reason for living

  • one's life's purpose

  • what makes one's life worth living

  • motivation for living

  • live for ...

Concrete examples: lifetime jobs, hobbies, child rearing, pets, etc. <>

Linda Papanicolaou says: I have noticed that some people are posting non-person (nature) haiku. If I understand the concept, though, I think it might be better expressed through a person verse because it’s about human topics.


First post: You search and find a haiku that you think has Ikigai

You'll give your reason/s why you think it has this aesthetic nuance. Second post: This will be your first haiku with Ikigai.

Third post: This will be your second haiku with Ikigai.

Please give your feedback on others' commentary and poems too. _()_

Have fun! Keep writing and commenting!

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