10 principles from Japan to live by for a harmonious and happy life

By Rinshi Ansari

Japan, known as the “Land of the Rising Sun,” is an archipelago of islands in East Asia that run almost parallel to the continent’s eastern coast.

The archipelago runs from close to Taiwan in the southwest to south of the Russian island of Sakhalin in the north. The four largest islands in Japan are Kyushu, Honshu, Shikoku, and Hokkaido. China, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, Russia, and Taiwan are all sea neighbours of the nation.

Japan’s surface area is 377,915 km2, and it is made up of 6,000 islands. The population of the nation is steadily declining, while the share of seniors is growing. The population of Japan is 125 million.

The most important ideas and principles that the Japanese adhered to to ensure that they lived with grace, mindfulness, honour, appreciation, and acceptance have endured through the ages.

Japanese culture has given rise to some of the best ways of thinking and behaving that people can use today. These are ideas that the Japanese culture lives and thrives on, regardless of how current they may be. There is no doubt that their way of life should be emulated since it is home to the oldest living people in the world.

Japan is regarded as one of the best countries to live in because its citizens comprehend the ideal method of living and its rationale.

We are all experiencing difficult times right now, and both our personal and professional lives are becoming utterly chaotic. It is throwing life’s equilibrium off.

Check out these 10 Japanese mentalities for a happy and healthy lifestyle.

  • Ikigai: A purpose for existing

The Japanese idea of having a purpose for existing is known as Ikigai. The Japanese word “ikigai” means to identify and live out your life’s mission. In other words, the cause of your morning awakening. An individual’s ikigai ought to be their calling—something they excel at and are enthusiastic about. It ought to be something that the entire globe requires and, if necessary, is capable of paying for financially. 

According to Japanese culture, each person has their own Ikigai, and discovering it is a necessary path to achieve fulfillment and meaning in life. Finding your ikigai in life can actually be a fantastic place to start when making resolutions for 2023.

  • Oubaitori: Never compare yourself to others

To never compare oneself to others is the meaning of the Japanese word “oubaitori.” The notion refers to the various ways each tree grows and consists of the kanji characters from four well-known trees: the cherry, plum, peach, and apricot. In other words, it is the notion that everyone blooms at their own pace and in their own unique fashion, just like flowers.

  • Kaizen: continuous improvement

Kaizen, which translates to “continuous improvement” or “change for the better,” is a commercial and personal concept that aims to continuously increase productivity and effectiveness at all levels of operation. It is a technique for achieving continuous improvement by accepting the process and gradually implementing modest improvements. After World War II, Japanese companies began using kaizen, and its guiding principles and methods became known as “The Toyota Way.” It is now a concept used to create positive habits, increase productivity, and enhance functionality in our daily lives.

  • Wabi-Sabi: Appreciating flaws

“Wabi-sabi,” a Japanese aesthetic, refers to the discovery of beauty in impermanence and imperfection. In other words, it is the Zen Buddhist idea of beauty, which emphasises the impermanence of all things and the appreciation of their faults in nature. Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is flawless, which are three fundamental principles of the philosophy that nurtures everything that is genuine. In a personal context, it refers to humbly accepting your imperfections and those of others.

  • Mottainai: The idea of not wasting anything

The Japanese expression “mottainai,” which roughly translates as “too good to waste,” refers to the idea that everything is deserving of respect and thanks and that it is therefore crucial to avoid wasting anything. Environmentalists have associated the term with the ideas of reducing, reusing, and recycling. The idea alludes to valuing and realising the value of resources so that they are not wasted.

  • Kintsugi: The art of golden repair

The Japanese techniques of “kintsugi,” which translates as “golden travel,” and “kintsukuroi,” which means “golden repair,” are most often associated with the patching up of cracked pottery using gold or silver lacquer. As a result of the celebration of its imperfections, the final product is breathtaking. Kintsugi is an art form that derives from the wabi-sabi philosophy, which values imperfection. This viewpoint can assist us in accepting our personal defects as embellishments that make objects and people even more attractive because the word itself alludes to the golden trips we have all taken. The idea has served as inspiration for numerous artists, who have incorporated this kind of art into their creations.

  • Gaman: Dignity during duress

The Japanese word “Gaman,” which means “patience, endurance, and tolerance,” denotes overcoming challenging circumstances with dignity. Gaman is a Zen Buddhist doctrine that emphasises the importance of remaining patient and robust in the face of adversity. It is a sign of emotional maturity.

  • Shikata ga nai: Acceptance and letting go

In Japanese, “Shikata ga nai” or “Sho ga nai” means “it cannot be helped” or “it is what it is” and there is nothing that can be done about it. However, the term is truly about acceptance. The phrase describes the idea of letting go of what we can’t change and moving on.

  • Yuugen: Observing beauty in the unseen

The Japanese word “yuugen,” which translates to “mysterious profundity,” describes a profound knowledge of the beauty of the universe that is beyond words to describe. Thus, it is the beauty we experience in a thing or a person even though it isn’t true beauty in the traditional sense of the word. Its aesthetic views subtlety and elusiveness as intrinsically beautiful and appreciates the ability to conjure rather than directly declare.

  • Mono no aware

“Mono no aware” is literally translated as “the pathos of things,” but it can also indicate having empathy for items and ephemera, or things that are temporary. It involves being conscious of impermanence, experiencing emotions like nostalgia for the past and the truth of life, and enjoying change that never stops. Additionally, the phrase has been described as “the ‘ahh-ness’ of things” in life, love, and the cosmos.

As we learn more about life and develop, adding ideas like these to our toolkit can help us survive in this interconnected world.

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