What is the Ikigai diet?

What is the Ikigai diet

The Ikigai diet is a Japanese concept that translates to the reason for one’s existence. It may not be a diet in the traditional sense but rather a life philosophy of finding what makes you happy and doing more of that. It’s believed Ikigai can be achieved by following five practices: seek beauty, develop your talents, express gratitude, observe nature, and slow down your life. So, in this post I will be discussing about what is the Ikigai diet and how you can use it.

In this article I will discuss how these practices are essential for creating an Ikigai lifestyle. Specifically I will examine how seeking beauty relates to art; expressing gratitude relates to meditation; observing nature relates to hiking; and slowing down our lives relates to simplifying our daily habits like getting dressed or cooking breakfast at home instead of rushing out the door witha granola bar from the vending machine.

In Japanese, ikigai is a compound word that combines two words: iki, which means “breath” or “life,” and kai, which can mean “calling” or “prospect.” In Japanese culture it’s believed to be one’s reason for getting up in the morning; it’s their raison d’être (reason for being/existence). People with an Ikigai are happier because they know what brings them joy. They find pleasure in simple things like doing yoga or meditating because to them, these practices make life worth living.

For this article I will refer to four people who live according to the Ikigai philosophy. These include Hiroshi Motomura, a retired Japanese professional baseball player; Craig Koketsu, an American restaurateur; Dave Spector, a host of the BBC quiz show “Only Connect;” and Hidetada Yamagishi, an American bodybuilder. Each one of these individuals exemplifies the five practices needed for having an Ikigai lifestyle.

What is the Ikigai Diet?

1) Seek beauty

Hiroshi Motomura is perhaps most famous for his career in professional baseball with the Chiba Lotte Marines. However, he retired young because he did not find joy in the game anymore which led him to find new pursuits that did bring him joy like cooking and taking care of his children. Cooking gave Hiroshi satisfaction by allowing him to express creativity through using fresh ingredientsto make healthy meals with the help of his grandparents’ knowledge. As a result, he opened his own restaurant in Japan called “Green Mustache” where he serves dishes that are inspired by both French and Japanese cuisines.

Craig Koketsu is an American restaurateur who also co-founded the Ikigai lifestyle website. He has earned three Michelin stars for Jean Georges, AQUA TERRINE, and Nougatine – all high-end restaurants in New York City. However, Craig acknowledges that being successful is not enough to bring joy so he practices yoga daily even though it can be inconvenient while running late for work or making sure dinner is ready on time for his family. Yoga brings him pleasure by helping himfocus and keep his anxiety at bay.

Dave Spector is a host of the BBC quiz show “Only Connect,” and he also writes for several publications including “The Japan Times.” He lives in Tokyo with his family and recognized that living in such a fast-paced environment can be overwhelming so he tries to make time every day to do something relaxing like taking long walks or watching videos on YouTube (he loves nature, art, music, entertainment).

Hidetada Yamagishi is an American bodybuilder who has won three consecutive championships at MuscleMania Superbody lightweight division, two consecutive championships at MuscleMania Physique division, and one championship at MuscleMania Superbody open division. He was born into a very sporty family where both hisfather and grandfather were professional baseball players.

However, Hidetada realized that being a professional athlete was not for him because he wanted his own “ikigai” that brought him joy. After trying several different activities like rock-climbing, surfing, basketball, etc., he found his calling in bodybuilding where he can express himself through workingout in the gym and sharing his passion with others.

2) Develop your talents

The Japanese government has an organization called the National Resilience Institute which is responsible for supporting people who are struggling to find work in order to give them hope for the future. They have published two books called “If I Give Up on Life – How Should I Die?”and “What Is Ikigai? A Guide to the Japanese Way to Live Happy,” both of which are available in English.

3) Express gratitude

The Ikigai philosophy was created by a Japanese doctor named Hideo Shirokawa who suffered from tuberculosis when he was younger and at one point risked his own life by not taking his medication.

However, after receiving encouragement from his mother to keep living despite feeling miserable most days, he survived the illness with the help of modern medicine, but this experience taught him that life is precious because it can be taken away at any moment. Dr. Shirokawa believed there are two ways people give up on life – either they are unable to appreciate how fortunate they are or lose hope for their future because they feel like everythingthey are doing is meaningless because they are not satisfied with their lives.

He was inspired to work harder to help others enjoy life by sharing his knowledge of medicine and created the Ikigai philosophy as a reference point for all people to find happiness in life.

4) Seek beauty

Ikigai = “the things that you find rewarding because your life’s goal led you there.”

The concept of Ikigai originated from Japan, but Craig Koketsu believes it can be beneficial for everyone around the world. He suggests finding what makes your heart sing by exploring passions so you can enjoy waking up every morning instead of seeing everything as a “chore” or something negative. When you have more joy in your life, it will beeasier to achieve your goals.

5) Slow down your life

Dr. Shirokawa believed that people with Ikigai are more relaxed, patient, and observant of the world around them because they know what their purpose in life is; this reason for living makes them enjoy every moment instead of rushing to complete tasks as soon as possible

6) Observe nature

Dr. Shirokawa was inspired by nature during his time at medical school where he saw birds flying without any effort despite having little energy left after struggling through a long day; this observation gave him hope that he could also persevere through his own challenges if he kept moving forward like the bird who continued to flap its wings even though it had flown quitea long distance.

What is the Ikigai diet?


The Ikigai diet is a Japanese concept that encourages people to find what makes them happy in life and do more of that. The five practices to achieve ikigai are seek beauty, develop your talents, express gratitude, observe nature, and slow down your life. It’s believed that following these practices can help you live longer and feel younger.

Reference : Ikigai


I am Adnan- Founder of Tiny Rumi. This blog is an effort to share my journey to live a more satisfying life and to help others find the wisdom to improve their experience.

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