IKIGAI: The Secret to a Long and Happy Life


Ikigai. The secret to a long and happy life is Japanese ways of life. Ikigai is known in Okinawa, one of prefecture in Japan where you can find centenarians. People who 100 years old and more.

Well, honestly I have just known about ikigai from Teh Ani, one of blogger and ISB community founder. She has explained about  how important to find ikigai within ourselves. Therefore, I read “ IKIGAI The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” book written by Hector Garcia and Francese Miralles. And, it gives me fascinating insights about life.

What is IKIGAI?

This book elaborates the mysteries of ikigai meaning. It is not only about taking from others, but also about giving and sharing. Ikigai might not cease our curiosity of life or how we came to know our identity in society.

Then, the writers found how one place in particular, Ogimi, a rural town on the north end of the island with the population of three thousand, boasts the highest expectancy in the world. That’s why it is called the Village of Longevity.

Is it because of Japan’s shikuwasa, a lime like fruit which has antioxidant punch? Is it the water used to brew Moringa tea? Or is it the friendliness of the residents?

Then, to know the answers, they conducted interviews with the elderly and realized something much more powerful than just natural resources at work. It is the pleasurable journey they have and uncommon joys of living and sharing it. We can see it flows through their smiles like flowers in summer time.

Turns out, the secret of Ogimi’s longevity is the practice of yuimaaru, work in team and help each other. They also live by principle of ichariba chode. Local expression for treat everyone like brothers, even though you don’t know them.


What is the reason of your being?

Everyone has ikigai. Some may have found it, while the rest don’t realize it. Yet, they keep searching it.

Ikigai might be hidden somewhere within ourselves. Then, to find it needs patient and courage. Okinawan’s centurions said that ikigai is the reason we get up every morning. So, it is quite important to know our ikigai.

Whatever you do, don’t retire!

We know that ikigai creates satisfaction, happiness, and meaning to our life. It means that we need to stay active to preserve our ikigai because active mind creates youthful body. Am I right?

Have you ever seen a young retired person who got many deterioration health issues? Or have you ever heard about a retired person who stays fit and happy because he/she keeps being active? Someone who has never retired and kept doing something has tendencies to be happier. Thus, he/she will be healthier.

So, what is my ikigai?

After contemplating for a while longer than I used to be, I finally found my ikigai. That is being a teacher. A job that I love, I am quite good at, and I can earn money from it for my living.

Besides, I can share and dedicate my knowledge for my students. I also find this job benefit my community. Give good impact for society.

I remember when I was young that I dreamt of being a teacher and help others to understand about the world. I want to enlighten my students about the benefit of having knowledge is not only to prosper our life financially, it also raises their understanding about humanity.

Having known my ikigai, I know that I must learn harder to become a better teacher. Keep learning a new thing as world moves faster. We can't teach and guide our students when we stop learning and doing a new thing.

Am I happy being a teacher?

Well, that’s an easy question for me. I definitely will answer by saying big fat yes. I answer it without thinking because I love being a teacher.

However, when you ask me why being teacher makes me happy? That is a big question for me since I don’t have similar opinion to other people about happiness. As I recalled one of my friend said about happiness is someone’s right. No one has a right to take it away from you. Thus, we destined to be happy unless we expect differently.

What I mean is everybody is different. Some people are happy by having a very simple life, while the rests are not. They still try to achieve more and more, want to posses more things than they need, and never feel satisfied.

I did not say that it is wrong. Not, of course not. We need that kind of ikigai to create technology or more innovations to brighten and create a better world. However, there will be no scientist or innovators without those who keep thinking and moving. 

So, I am happy being a teacher and giving my contribution to my society and my country. I am also proud of being a teacher no matter how difficult it is. Because I know that it is my ikigai.


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