10 Japanese Concepts To Be Inspired And Live By

There are many things that people can learn from Japanese culture and philosophy that can help them live a happier and more fulfilling life. Japanese people are conscious about focusing on the present moment, finding a sense of purpose, cultivating gratitude or practicing self-care. 

In today’s article we’ll introduce you to 10 beautiful Japanese concepts that you can get inspired to embrace a happy and healthy living.

Ikigai:  A reason for being

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that roughly translates to “reason for being” or “the thing that makes life worth living.” The Japanese concept of “ikigai” means to define and practice your purpose in life. In other words, the reason you get up in the morning.

Kaizen: Continuous improvement

"kaizen” is a word that means continuous improvement or changing for the better and is a personal and business philosophy seeking to constantly improve efficiency and effectiveness in all levels of operation. It is often associated with the concept of “small steps,” as it encourages people to make small, incremental changes and improvements on a regular basis.

Oubaitori:  Not comparing oneself

The ancient Japanese idiom oubaitori comes from the kanji for the four trees that bloom in spring: cherry blossoms, peach, plum, and apricot. Each flower blooms in its own time, and the meaning behind the idiom is that we all grow and bloom at our own pace, so we should never compare ourselves to others.

Wabi-Sabi: Admiring imperfection

Wabi-sabi means finding beauty in what is impermanent and imperfect. In other words, it is the Zen Buddhist concept of beauty seen through appreciating the imperfections in nature in which everything is impermanent.

Mottainai can best be translated as being too good to waste and refers to the belief, that everything deserves respect and gratitude and thus it is important to use its full potential.

Mottainai: Not being wasteful

Mono no aware means “the pathos of things,”, an empathy toward things and ephemera – in other words, what is fleeting. It is a feeling of bittersweetness stemming from passing of time and the impermanence of all things. Mono no aware often describes the experience of seeing something beautiful, such as a flower in bloom, and recognising that it will eventually fade and die.

Mono no aware

Kintsukuroi refers to golden repair, is most commonly correlated to the mending of broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer. The result is a stunning object due to the celebration of its flaws. The practice of kintsugi stems from the concept of wabi-sabi in which imperfections are considered admirable.

Kintsugi: The art of golden repair

Gaman is often seen as a key virtue in Japanese culture, and is often associated with stoicism, resilience, and determination. It refers to the ability to endure challenging situations without complaining or giving up.

Gaman:  All about endurance

Shikata ga nai is a Japanese phrase that roughly translates to “there is nothing to be done.” It is often used to express a sense of resignation or acceptance in the face of a difficult or frustrating situation. It is similar to the English phrases “it is what it is”.

Shikata ga nai:  letting go

Yuugen is a concept, a feeling of wonder or awe that is experienced when encountering something that is profound or deeply moving.

Yuugen: Beholding beauty in the unseen

We hope these ten Japanese concepts will make you inspired to appreciate and cherish all the beauty around you.