Article

On the Concept of Well-Being in Japan: Feeling Shiawase as Hedonic Well-Being and Feeling Ikigai as Eudaimonic Well-Being

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Abstract

This study clarified characteristics of well-being in Japan, specifically differences between feeling shiawase and feeling ikigai, to elucidate how they relate to eudaimonic well-being and hedonic well-being. Participants were 846 Japanese in their 30s (418 men, 428 women), who responded to a web-based survey. Questionnaire items comprised level of shiawase/ikigai, the presence of a difference between feeling shiawase and feeling ikigai, and, in an open-ended question, the difference between feeling shiawase and feeling ikigai. Results revealed that feeling shiawase is primarily characterized by such feelings as delight and peace; it is oriented toward the present. Feeling ikigai entails actions of devoting oneself to pursuits one enjoys and is associated with feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment. Furthermore, it includes awareness of values such as the purpose of life and the meaning of existence; it is future oriented, as in goal seeking. This study verifies that for Japanese, feeling shiawase is close to hedonic well-being and feeling ikigai is close to eudaimonic well-being. This suggests that it is important to approach Japanese well-being not in technical terms such as eudaimonic well-being; rather, Japanese well-being should be comprehended in terms of ikigai which is an aspect of daily conversation in Japan.

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... The purpose of this study is to explore how leisure relates to a non-Western EWB concept compared with non-leisure life domains, using photographic data. Specifically, we study ikigai, or the Japanese term for 'life worth living', which is known to possess eudaimonic characters, such as meaning and purpose (Kumano 2018). ...
... Although the above literature discusses leisure's relationship with EWB, the current study focuses on a specific EWB concept, ikigai (Kumano 2018), and thus reviewing its own literature would inform the study. Further, because the above literature is centred on leisure (or even a specific leisure activity), it is useful to examine what other life domains and associated experiences contribute to ikigai. ...
... For example, the ikigai research pioneer Kamiya (1966) indicated that people should satisfy the need for mirai-sei, which requires them to believe that their lives would unfold in desirable ways in the future. Similarly, Kumano (2012) identified goal-setting as a contributor to ikigai, while also showing that ikigai is a future-oriented eudaimonic concept in lay Japanese people's mind (Kumano 2018). Related to future aspirations is self-development. ...
Article
Many studies have examined the relationships between leisure and subjective well-being. However, eudaimonic (e.g. meaning) and non-Western perspectives are lacking. Moreover, comparing leisure with other life domains could clarify leisure's unique roles in the pursuit of well-being. This study explores leisure's relationships with ikigai, a Japanese eudaimonic well-being concept. A purposeful sample of 27 Japanese university students provided 247 pictures of ikigai which they categorized into leisure and non-leisure groups. Photographic data were analysed via content analysis. The majority of ikigai pictures were associated with leisure. Compared with non-leisure pictures, leisure photographs were more frequently coded with 'hobby/ leisure' and 'nature', while less frequently coded with 'relationships', 'organizational activities', 'education', and 'values'. Leisure's unique roles in student's pursuit of ikigai relate to providing casual and enjoyable experiences, private time and space, and nature-based experiences. Our findings are discussed in relation to leisure studies, ikigai studies, and research on meaning in life. ARTICLE HISTORY
... 45 On the other hand, having ikigai, a condition characterized by a Japanese spiritual 46 concept usually translated as having a purpose of life and enjoying one's activities to achieve 47 satisfaction and a sense of meaning, entails the concept of eudaimonic well-being. 20 In other 48 words, not having ikigai encompasses a state in which one is not able to sense or feel of having 49 ikigai. We hypothesized that an ill-balanced work-family life may logically contribute to not 50 having or perceiving ikigai. ...
... The Egyptian participants received verbal explanation to the ikigai question to consider the 111 degree of feeling that life is worth living (one's mission in life is foreseen to be meaningful) at 112 both hedonic (attaining pleasure and avoiding pain avoidance) and eudaimonic (being a fully 113 functioning person) views of well-being. 20 Participants who chose "yes" or "very much" were 114 considered to have a high-ikigai, while those who chose "not so much" or "no" were considered 115 to have a low-ikigai. ...
... 233feel satisfied with your life20 ; accordingly, the observed inverse associations between total-WFCs 234 and having ikigai were expected. Despite being a Japanese concept, the ikigai purpose of life was 235 tested among other populations35,36 including Egyptians 36 and showed good internal reliability236 and similar associations with psychological well-being. ...
Article
Background: Work-family conflicts (total-WFCs) could associate with mental health, and having ikigai (a purpose of life) may mediate this association. Methods: In a cross-cultural study of 4792 Japanese Aichi Workers' Cohort study participants and 3109 Egyptian civil workers, the Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) questionnaire measured total-WFCs and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) 11-item scale measured depression. Logistic regression models estimated odds ratios (ORs) of having depression and a high-ikigai across levels of total-WFCs (low, moderate, and high), and the PROCESS macro of Hayes tested the mediation effect. Results: The prevalence of high total-WFCs, depression, and having a high-ikigai were 17.9%, 39.4%, and 70.1% in Japanese women, 10.5%, 26.8%, and 70.1% in Japanese men, 23.7%, 58.2%, and 24.7% in Egyptian women, and 19.1%, 38.9%, and 36.9% in Egyptian men. Compared with participants with low total-WFCs, the multivariable ORs (95% CIs) of depression in Japanese women and men with high total-WFCs were 4.11 (2.99-5.65) and 5.42 (4.18-7.02), and those in Egyptian women and men were 4.43 (3.30-5.95) and 4.79 (3.53-6.48). The respective ORs of having a high-ikigai were 0.46 (0.33-0.64) and 0.40 (0.31-0.52) in Japanese women and men and were 0.34 (0.24-0.48) and 0.28 (0.20-0.39) in Egyptian women and men. No interaction between total-WFCs and country was observed for the associations with depression or ikigai. Ikigai has mediated (up to 18%) the associations between the total-WFCs and depression, especially in Egyptian civil workers. Conclusions: Total-WFCs were associated with depression, and having low-ikigai mediated these associations in Japanese and Egyptian civil workers.
... Ikigai research may allow for a unique opportunity to theorize understudied aspects of well-being. First, the existing research suggests ikigai is similar to eudaimonic well-being or a "good life" (Kumano 2018), which has been underexplored compared with its hedonic counterpart (Huta and Waterman 2014). Second, Japanese people have lived for centuries with ikigai, the single word that possesses various shades of meaning regarding life worth living and purpose in life (e.g., Kamiya 1966). ...
... Our literature review suggests there is some consensus that ikigai perception is multidimensional and eudaimonic (e.g., Kamiya 1966;Kumano 2006Kumano , 2018. However, it also identifies certain critical threats to the validity of existing ikigai perception scales (Kondo and Kamata 1998;Kumano 2013). ...
... Within the MIL research, King and colleagues established the robust relationship between positive affect and MIL (e.g., King et al. 2016). Thus, ikigai or at least keiken may not be a purely eduaimonic phenomenon as Kumano (2018) has suggested, but instead it is also partially hedonic. Having said this, this arguably hedonic dimension of ikigai may be because this study focused on a student population. ...
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Our understanding of well-being has benefited from cross-cultural and non-Western research. However, culturally unique well-being concepts remain largely under-theorized. To address this gap, our research was aimed at developing and validating a substantive theory of how Japanese university students pursue ikigai or life worth living. To this end, we conducted sequential mixed-methods research. First, we performed a qualitative study guided by grounded theory methodology based on photo-elicitation interview data from 27 Japanese university students. Second, we tested our emerging theory of ikigai with online survey data from 672 Japanese university students by using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). Our results indicate that students made four distinct actions to pursue ikigai. First, they engaged in an experience they subjectively valued as enjoyable, effortful, stimulating, or comforting. Second, they “diversified” by engaging with multiple values (e.g., enjoyment and comfort) within or across experiences. Third, they balanced competing values (i.e., enjoyment vs. effort, and stimulation vs. comfort). Fourth, they temporarily disengaged from experiences that became overwhelming so they could re-engage with them at a later time. These actions were perceived to result in daily lives being worth living and full of vibrancy. Students also believed these actions were conditioned by understanding what value was important in a certain life condition, and by their ability to act on opportunities for potentially valuable experiences without hesitation. The hypothesized relationships among the above concepts were supported by the subsequent quantitative results. Our findings are discussed in light of the ikigai and eudaimonic well-being literature.
... Defi nicja pojęcia zaproponowana przez Michiko Kumano podkreśla, że posiadanie ikigai zawiera w sobie poczucie spełnienia i osiągnięć, podejmowanie przynoszących radość aktywności, świadomość wartości, takich jak cel życia i znaczenie własnego istnienia. Defi nicja ta zbliża pojęcie ikigai do koncepcji dobrego życia w ujęciu eudajmonistycznym psychologii pozytywnej (eudaimonic well-being) (Kumano, 2017). ...
... Wykazali oni, że posiadanie ikigai, traktowanego jako pozytywny czynnik psychologiczny, zwiększa przeżywalność wśród Japończyków w średnim i podeszłym wieku oraz koreluje ujemnie z wieloma poważnymi zaburzeniami somatycznymi i niepełnosprawnością (Tanno i in., 2009). Wiele doniesień potwierdza pozytywną rolę ikigai we wspomaganiu zdrowia fi zycznego, zapobieganiu chorobom i obniżaniu śmiertelności oraz zwiększaniu szans na pomyślną starość (Miralles, Piugcaver, 2017;Tanno i in., 2009;Mori i in., 2017;Ishida, 2011Ishida, , 2012Kumano, 2017). ...
... Przesłanką do postawienia tego pytania były bezpośrednio wyniki wszystkich przytoczonych badań japońskich, wskazujące na istnienie takich zależności (Tanno i in., 2009;Mori i in., 2017;Ishida, 2011Ishida, , 2012Kumano, 2017). ...
... For example, Kamiya (1966) essentially equated ikigai feelings to purpose in life. Kumano (2018) revealed that the vast majority of lay Japanese people defined ikigai feelings as future-and goal-oriented. The eudaimonic well-being Fig. 7 Results of PLS-SEM analysis of the theoretical houkousei model. ...
... In contrast to its emphasis on future-related factors, the ikigai literature has been notably silent as to the importance of past-related variables. Indeed, nearly all major ikigai theorists have argued that ikigai is a future-focused phenomenon (e.g., Kamiya 1966;Kumano 2018;Mathews 1996). The exception is Mori (2001), who proposed a more balanced view with ikigai pertaining to both the future and the past. ...
... Having future goals has been long recognized as a robust source of ikigai (e.g., Hasegawa et al. 2007;Kamiya 1966;Kumano 2018;Mathews 1996). Having said this, there is room for debate regarding what type of goals are particularly conducive to ikigai. ...
Article
Although cross-cultural and non-Western studies have advanced our knowledge on well-being, many studies have adopted English words including ‘happiness’ as their guiding concepts, which may have limited and biased their insight. The current study is part of a larger mixed-methods project that theorizes how Japanese university students pursue ikigai or a life worth living. The first qualitative study, based on 27 photo-elicitation interviews, generated a grounded theory of houkousei, or life directionality. Our qualitative findings suggested that when students formed explicit associations among the past, present, and future, they gained strong ikigai feelings. These associations were developed either cognitively by mentally associating existing present experiences with the past or future, or behaviourally by strategically choosing current experiences more pertinent to the past or future than alternatives. These actions resulted in two subjective states: life legacy and life momentum. Life legacy was the perception that one’s past had meaningfully contributed to his or her present experiences, life, and self. Life momentum meant the belief that one’s present experiences were helping him or her achieve the desired future. Lastly, having defining past experiences and setting clear goals both facilitated the associative actions. To further validate this theory, we collected online survey data from a national sample of 672 Japanese students. Our quantitative results, based on partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM), largely supported our theoretical model. Our findings are discussed in light of the ikigai and eudaimonic well-being literatures.
... Beginning with the distinction between shiawase, a term more related to happiness in Japanese, and ikigai, which refers more to an individual's sense of personal values and sense of worth (cf. Kono & Walker, 2020;Kumano, 2018), increased empirical attention has been given to the construct of ikigai in several disciplines over the last two decades, particularly within the frameworks of healthcare, positive psychology, and preventative medicine (Fido et al., 2020). Recently, attempts have been made to more closely connect this concept to positive psychological terms of quality of life and wellbeing. ...
... Recently, attempts have been made to more closely connect this concept to positive psychological terms of quality of life and wellbeing. More specifically, ikigai has been likened to eudaimonic wellbeing (Kumano, 2018;Lomas, 2016), an area which has been relatively underexplored compared with its hedonic counterpart (Huta & Waterman, 2014). Western empirical and philosophical literature on wellbeing mostly refers to these two basic forms (Friedman, 2012;Ryan & Deci, 2001;Ryff & Singer, 1998;Ryff et al., 2004;Waterman, 1993), both of which are fundamental to human flourishing. ...
... Pursuing hedonia is generally related to personal wellbeing, whereas the pursuit of eudaimonia is associated with both personal wellbeing and caring that goes beyond self-interest (e.g., Huta & Ryan, 2010;Peterson et al., 2005). In a similar manner to eudaimonia, having a sense of ikigai has been found to involve actions and pursuits related to (Kumano, 2018). Such association between Western conceptualisations of MIL and ikigai is also evident in Martela and Steger's (2016) three dimensions of MIL, where significance, "the worthwhileness and value of one's life," is described as "directly connected to the Japanese notion of ikigai" (p. ...
Chapter
The concept of ikigai is still relatively new in the West; yet it has already succeeded in drawing attention as a unique and potentially key predictor of physical and psychological wellbeing. Given its multidimensional nature and the profound ideas it encapsulates regarding the life worth living, it may require not only a cross-disciplinary approach but also a multimethod one to fully understand. Through the theoretical perspectives of positive psychology and meaning in life, this chapter aims at complementing the emerging contribution of large-scale and longitudinal studies with a “bottom-up” qualitative understanding of how ikigai is experienced and expressed. This chapter will also point to the potential benefits of exploring individuals' experiences of ikigai, using creative methods, given that it is a personal, phenomenological pillar of human experience which is often challenging to capture verbally. Insights from this chapter may inform empirical and practical implications for further development of therapeutic, organisational, and educational interventions.
... However, like thousands of teacher-educators across the Englishspeaking world, I am certain that I learned far more from working with English teachers from Asia than they learned from me. In particular, I experienced a process of discovering what I have recently learned is ikigai (Ishida, 2014;Kumano, 2017;Sone et al., 2008) or "the reason for which you wake up in the morning" (Mathews, 1996). My ikigai is teacher education, in particular, second language teacher education and, even more specifically, teacher transformation (Mezirow, 1991). ...
... leisure or what you do in your free time); 4) is unique to each individual, consistent with his/her identity and is an outlet for true self-expression; 5) helps construct a value system in one's mind; and 6) contributes to creating an internal mental world in which one can live freely. The distinction between the perception of ikigai and its sources has had a strong conceptual influence on later ikigai researchers (e.g., Hasegawa et al., 2003;Kumano, 2017). ...
... Building on the work of her predecessors, Kumano (2006Kumano ( , 2013Kumano ( , 2017 developed an ikigai awareness scale with five dimensions: (a) life affirmation, (b) goal and dream, (c) meaning in life, (d) existential value, and (e) commitment (Kumano, 2006). She also argues that igikai awareness is most frequently associated with actions, especially doing things one enjoys and devoting oneself to the endeavour; is future and long-term oriented; includes a sense of worthiness, zest, meaning and purpose, and existential significance; and entails the active effortful pursuit of something difficult for the benefit of others. ...
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This paper follows 10 years of evolution of a Japanese teacher of English in a small city in Hokkaido, Japan. After participation in an intensive one-month study abroad program Kuni and the author began regular correspondence and annual interviews that act as a record of his professional transformation. Following case study methodology the study reveals evidence of the impact of study abroad on Kuni’s practice, while ikigai best illuminates his transformation. Satisfied with his life, able to be an agent of his own professional change, always generating and looking forward to goals and dreams, and feeling free to pursue his vision for his students seem to give him meaning and value in life.
... Similarly, among older adults, there is evidence that perceived social support positively predicts ikigai feelings (Aoki, 2015). Relatedly, Kumano (2018) content-analyzed qualitative data on lay views of differences between ikigai and shiawase, and found that interpersonal relationships-especially doing something for others-were more associated with the former (10.5%) than the latter (4.4%). ...
... In summary, our review suggests that ikigai is influenced by various interpersonal factors (e.g., Kamiya, 1966;Kumano, 2012;Mathews, 1996). However, the literature remains inconsistent as to what exactly such predictors are, ranging from acceptance and support from others (Aoki, 2015;Kumano, 2012), to altruism (Kamiya, 1966;Kumano, 2018) and commitment to a group (Mathews, 1996;Takahashi, 2001). Also debated is the extent to which these interpersonal factors are relevant to ikigai within the current study's population: young adults and students (Kumano, 2012;Takahashi, 2001). ...
... The literature is curiously silent on this form of shared perseverance. This unique finding may have been because ikigai is a form of eudaimonic wellbeing (Kumano, 2018), and its pursuit requires not only pleasure, but also growth and goal achievements. Communicating experiences, especially the sub-dimension of informing close others of one's valued experience, resembles capitalization (Gable & Reis, 2010). ...
Article
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Wellbeing literature has greatly benefited from cross-cultural and non-Western research. However, most studies have been guided by Western, English constructs such as "happiness." Thus, a large amount of non-Western, non-English words related to wellbeing remain unstudied, leaving a crucial gap in our knowledge on wellbeing. To address this gap, we conducted a mixed-methods project to develop a theory of how Japanese university students experience ikigai ('life worth living'), and particularly its interpersonal aspect. First, we deployed a qualitative approach, in which photo-elicitation interviews were conducted with 27 Japanese university students, with the data analyzed using grounded theory. Our results suggested that students' ikigai was strongly influenced by ibasho ('authentic relationship'). In such relationships, students felt that they could be true to who they were (i.e., be self-authentic), and that their close others sincerely cared about them without considering personal gains (i.e., they experienced genuine care). These perceptions were fostered and maintained by two types of interactions: experiencing together; and communicating experiences. The former involved directly engaging in personally valued experiences with close others, while the latter meant keeping close others updated about their important experiences and obtaining support from them to further pursue such experiences. These interactions were conditioned by echoed values (a state where people and close others understand and respect each other's personal values), and trust (the belief that they do not violate each other's privacy and do offer support when needed). This theory guided a second quantitative study which analyzed online survey data from 672 Japanese students by using partial least squares structural equation modeling. Our results suggested that our new measures for the constructs were valid and reliable, and that the hypothesized relationships among them are significant. Our findings are discussed in relation to both Japanese ikigai literature and Western wellbeing research.
... Many types of well-being are classified as either hedonic (e.g., life satisfaction, mood) or eudaimonic well-being (e.g., psychological well-being). However, it has been suggested that ikigai represents both hedonic and eudaimonic aspects of well-being (Kumano, 2018;Sone et al., 2008;Tanno et al., 2009). As the concept of ikigai and the other types of well-being are somewhat different, the patterns among loneliness, social interaction variables, and well-being might also differ according to the type of well-being. ...
... Moreover, one notable feature of ikigai is that it represents both hedonic and eudaimonic aspects of well-being (e.g., Kumano, 2018). In a study targeting people experiencing loneliness, frequent participation in leisure activities was positively related to psychological well-being, an index of eudaimonic well-being (Kim et al., 2017). ...
Article
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This study investigated associations among loneliness, social support, social participation, and well-being among the Japanese elderly. We predicted that the negative association between loneliness and well-being would be weaker in people with adequate social support and frequent social participation. We measured ikigai and life satisfaction as indices of well-being. Ikigai and life satisfaction both include satisfaction with a person’s current and past life, yet ikigai also includes unique concepts such as satisfaction with social interactions and positive expectations for the future. Data of 418 Japanese aged 75 and older were analyzed; findings demonstrated that loneliness was negatively related to ikigai but not life satisfaction. There was a significant interaction between loneliness and social support for life satisfaction and ikigai. The interaction between loneliness and the frequency of social participation was significant only for ikigai. Post-hoc analysis indicated that social support and social participation frequency were negatively related to the negative association between loneliness and well-being, especially ikigai. These results suggest that ikigai and life satisfaction have a differential relationship to loneliness and social interaction because the concept of ikigai uniquely included perceived social roles.
... According to the eudaimonic approach, well-being is the ability to address three main psychological needs, namely autonomy, competence, and relationship [99][100][101]. A study, with the assumption that Japanese people have lower level of well-being compared with western people, reported that Japanese people's well-being is closer to the eudaimonic approach than the hedonic approach [102]. Contrarily, people in the Latin American countries, who have lower socioeconomic status, have higher levels of hedonic well-being and hence, development in these countries necessitates interventions to improve eudaimonic well-being [76]. ...
Article
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Background: A prerequisite to the interventions for well-being improvement in high-risk pregnancy (HRP) is to make the concept clear, objective, and measurable. Despite the wealth of studies into the concept of well-being in HRP, there is no clear definition for it. This study aimed to explore the concept of well-being in HRP. Methods: This integrative review was conducted using the Whittemore and Knafl's approach. A literature search was done without any data limitation in dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, well-being-related textbooks, midwifery, psychology, and mental health journals, and Iranian and international databases. The most primary inclusion criterion was relevance to well-being in HRP. The full-texts of all these articles were assessed using the checklists of the Joanna Briggs Institute. Data were analyzed through the constant comparison method and were managed using the MAXQDA 10 software. Meaning units were identified and coded. The codes were grouped into subcategories and categories according to the attributes, antecedents, and consequences of well-being in HRP. Results: Thirty articles were included in the review, from which 540 codes were extracted. The codes were grouped into seven main attributes, eight main antecedents, and five main consequences of well-being in HRP. The four unique dimensions of well-being in HRP are physical, mental-emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. These dimensions differentiate well-being in HRP from well-being in low-risk pregnancy and in non-pregnancy conditions. Conclusion: As a complex and multidimensional concept, well-being in HRP refers to the pregnant woman's evaluation of her life during HRP. It includes physical, hedonic, and eudaimonic components. The assessment of well-being in HRP should include all these components.
... Indeed, hedonia and eudaimonia are founded in Western philosophy and thought, and even their modern forms are being developed within a largely Western perspective. Parallel concepts in other cultures, such as the Japanese concepts of shiawase and ikigai, are conceptualized and experienced somewhat differently by respondents; see Kumano (2018). Future work should consider cross-cultural variability and assess the nuances between similar concepts and game engagement. ...
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An extended design and evaluation framework of eudaimonia (personal growth, expressiveness) and hedonia (pleasure, comfort) was applied to a cooperative game for older adults who rely on power mobility. The purpose was to address two psychosocial well-being needs (perceptions of performance mastery and empathy enhancement) through a game with an interaction format that augments the experience of powered chair use: mixed reality with power mobility-based interaction and movement. Two versions of the game—one in a mixed reality format and one without—were created to evaluate the efficacy of using this framework and explore relevant user experience factors. Qualitative findings suggest that the mixed reality version of the game elicited eudaimonic experiences, where the older adult participants who were typically reliant on power mobility perceived a positive change in performance mastery while their partners, who were not reliant on power mobility developed a greater appreciation for everyday powered chair use. Further, a role reversal, where the elders took on a ‘caregiving’ role in the context of powered chair expertise, was observed. Moreover, inferential findings showed evidence of a predictive relationship between hedonic and eudaimonic orientations, psychological well-being, and game engagement, regardless of age, disability status, and game version.
... The individual's relationship to society can be described using the Japanese concept of Ikigai (生き甲斐 ), which means "a reason for being." Ikigai is typically used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile (Yamamoto-Mitani & Wallhagen, 2002;Kumano, 2018). It is a common value in East Asia to appreciate one's life purpose and value in relation to one's place and role in society. ...
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Live-in foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore are an essential part of the economy but are socially marginalized as outsiders. In a reality of rapid demographic ageing and low fertility, Singaporean families usually engage a foreign domestic worker as a home-caregiver. There is almost no research literature on the experiences and education of women FDWs. This qualitative, exploratory case study was designed to investigate the question: What influences the development of live-in FDWs caregivers’ lay knowledge? The literature review examined perspectives on (a) transnational migration and domestic work; (b) government policies and home caregiving in Singapore; (c) migration and adult learning and development; and (d) care ethics, knowledge, and practice. Participants for this study were five Filipina live-in FDWs, who are also volunteer teachers, teaching caregiving classes to fellow domestic workers. The setting for the study is a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in the Republic of Singapore, which relies on volunteers from the domestic worker community to provide non-formal education programs. Data were collected over a six-month period including two individual interviews and one focus group, conducted in a natural setting where people are actually engaged in the process under study. Data were analyzed using a three-step ethnographic process of direct observations combined with interviews, emphasis on local knowledge and context, and direct personal engagement of the researcher with the community of FDWs. The FDWs’ complex personal, societal and cultural factors were linked to learning and knowledge development, suggesting a pluralistic epistemological framework, which was influenced by colonialism, current conditions in the Philippines, life in Singapore, and globalization. The findings shed light on the challenges and ways FDWs manage and implement care-work and improve their learning and personal development through migration experiences. The influences on their learning processes highlight how individuals construct lay knowledge in real life. The study highlights the value of a non-Western notion of learning-communities, where adults organically teach and learn from each other to solve real-life problems, empower each other, and transform their roles and identities. The study results indicate a gap in the process of articulating and expressing knowledge by FDWs, reflecting a gap between the FDWs’ lay knowledge and the formal caregivers’ knowledge in the context of Singapore. Recommendations emphasize the importance of education and training for live-in care-workers and the need for creating supportive and nurturing environment for caregivers and care recipients. By encouraging a systematic involvement of FDWs in the development of education and training programs, caregivers’ lay knowledge may be recognized and influence the development of home-care practice to close the gaps. Recognition of the caregivers’ lay knowledge is an important step in creating a new channel for social mobility of migrant domestic workers.
... Ikigai is believed to be the most common indicator of psychological well-being in Japanese culture (Nakanishi, 1999). Kumano's (2017) content analysis of how Japanese define ikigai in everyday language further showed that the concept comprises a sense of accomplishment, devotion (despite difficulties), and social and benevolent contribution. These elaborated ideas suggest possible overlap with other aspects of well-being such as personal growth and positive relations with others 1 . ...
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Studies have reported relationships between psychological well-being and physical health in Western cultural contexts. However, longitudinal associations between well-being and health have not been examined in other cultures where different values and beliefs about well-being exist. This paper examined whether longitudinal profiles of well-being predict prospective health among Japanese adults. Data came from 654 people who completed two waves of the Midlife in Japan (MIDJA) Study collected 4–5 years apart. Health outcomes were assessed with subjective health, chronic conditions, physical symptoms, and functional health. The results showed that persistently high well-being predicted better health over time. High-arousal positive affect, which is relatively less valued in Japanese culture, was also associated with better health. The findings add cross-cultural evidence to the cross-time link between well-being and health.
... Thus, an individual, with their behaviours towards themselves, including health, wellbeing, sense of happiness, comfort and safety, is as important as the entire society ( Marchand and Walker, 2008 ;Escobar-Tello, 2016 ;Dłu żewska, 2019 ). This issue is complex, too, as the very theories of well-being can be based on hedonic and eudaimonic ethical approaches ( Lamb and Steinberger, 2017 ;Kumano, 2018 ). The former pertains to subjective experiencing of happiness, whereas the latter is objective and relates to the quality of life which aims to avoid pain and suffering. ...
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Environmental changes resulting from human activity and the negative impact of civilisational megatrends are being noticed and criticised increasingly often, and their consequences are becoming extremely severe. If people do not change their habits, changes in our ecosystems will become irreversible and it will be impossible to live in such environment. Thus, the aim of the paper is to review the lifestyles of responsible consumers against the background of the sustainable development paradigm. To engage in the debate as to how a sustainable lifestyle can be operationalized, we conducted a traditional, narrative literature review. Apart from revising the theoretical framework of a sustainable lifestyle, we describe selected lifestyles (such as lifestyle of health and sustainability, wellness, hygge, lagom, slow living, smart living, low-carbon lifestyles) and consumer behaviour patterns (fair trade, values and lifestyle segmentation). Each of these lifestyles relates to a broader or narrower extent to sustainable development, but none of the lifestyles is universal. Conscious and responsible consumer behaviour requires a long-term process and to a large extent depends on individual, political and marketing factors. Finally, we made an evaluation of the research used, pointing out challenges to be implemented, which will contribute to the development, enhancement and prominence of a sustainable lifestyle.
... Note that, in discussing the concept of well-being in the Japanese society, Kumano (2018) distinguishes the two types of well-being: the shiawase or hedonic well-being, and ikigai or eudaimonic well-being. Clearly, both are captured in our analysis but not distinguished as this will be the scope of future work. ...
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This study presents for the first time the SWB-J index, a subjective well-being indicator for Japan based on Twitter data. The index is composed by eight dimensions of subjective well-being and is estimated relying on Twitter data by using human supervised sentiment analysis. The index is then compared with the analogous SWB-I index for Italy, in order to verify possible analogies and cultural differences. Further, through structural equation models, a causal assumption is tested to see whether the economic and health conditions of the country influence the well-being latent variable and how this latent dimension affects the SWB-J and SWB-I indicators. It turns out that, as expected, the economic and health welfare is only one aspect of the multidimensional well-being that is captured by the Twitter-based indicator.
... The literal meaning is comparable to the borrowed French phrase raison d'être (reason to be). In addition to describing having a sense of purpose in life and being motivated, ikigai also means the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment when people pursue their passions (Mathews, 1996, Mogi, 2017, García and Miralles, 2017, Schippers, 2017, Kumano, 2018, Schippers, 2019. ...
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The article describes what constitutes chemical engineering and its branches are in plain language. It outlines what to expect when one enrolls in a chemical engineering program as an undergraduate or graduate student. This may include core subjects to take, skillset to master, and other essential expertise that might be useful in the workplace. The discussion continues with career options for enthusiastic chemical engineers and how these young and early careers graduates could discover their reason for well-being and life purpose as aspiring chemical engineers.
... The well-being of Japanese people can be understood as encompassing both happiness and ikigai. When the subjective well-being of Japanese people is divided into hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing, feelings of happiness are categorised as hedonic well-being, whereas feelings of ikigai are categorised as eudaimonic wellbeing (Kumano, 2018). ...
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Physical activity is associated with subjective well-being. In rural communities, however, physical activity may be affected by environmental factors (e.g., nature and socioecological factors). We examined the association of two physical activities in rural life (farming activity and snow removal) with subjective well-being in terms of happiness and ikigai (a Japanese word meaning purpose in life). In this cross-sectional study, we analysed data collected from community-dwelling adults aged ≥ 40 years in the 2012–2014 survey of the Uonuma cohort study, Niigata, Japan. Happiness (n = 31,848) and ikigai (n = 31,785) were evaluated with respect to farming activity from May through November and snow removal from December through April by using an ordinal logistic regression model with adjustments for potential confounders. The analyses were conducted in 2019. Among the participants who reported some farming or snow-removal time, median farming and snow-removal time (minutes per day) was 90.0 and 64.3 for men and 85.7 and 51.4 for women, respectively. Ordinal logistic regression analysis showed that longer time farming was associated with greater happiness and ikigai in men (adjusted odds ratio for first vs. fourth quartile: happiness = 1.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01, 1.35; ikigai = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.10, 1.50), and also in women (adjusted odds ratio for first vs. fourth quartile: happiness = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.001, 1.36; ikigai = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.20, 1.67). More snow-removal time was inversely associated with happiness and with ikigai in women only (adjusted odds ratio for first vs. fourth quartile: happiness = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.67, 0.85; ikigai = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.69, 0.88). Our findings showed that physical activity in rural life was associated with happiness and with ikigai, and gender differences were observed in their associations with more snow-removal time. These results may be useful in helping to identify people in rural communities who are vulnerable in terms of psychological well-being.
... Previous research on well-being in Japan has highlighted the importance of ikigai, which is an important concept in Japanese culture and everyday life and which has been gaining attention among western scholars. It is defined as something to live for or the joy and purpose for living in Japanese dictionaries and has been associated with eudaimonic well-being (Kumano, 2018). In this sense, it has been also proposed as one factor for the country having the world's highest longevity (Sone et al., 2008). ...
... The vision underlies the reduction of human alienations and productivity enhancement throughout the implementation of cyber and physical robots. Thence, humans can be specialised in innovative and creative tasks aligned with their Ikigai (Kumano, 2018). Therefore, the understanding, ethics, frameworks, and cases of technology assisting humans could be extrapolated in the built environment in order to allocate the areas of improvement and replicate the model in other countries. ...
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The field of Unmanned Aerial Systems or Drones is still under development by the challenges of regulation and technology readiness for certain applications. The application of emerging technologies and robotics incites the growth of productivity on repetitive and exhaustive tasks for human and represent a rapid solution for data collection methods. The UAS presents opportunities to contribute and carry out urban planning tasks in a reduced time and risks, and appropriately supportive for COVID-19. Therefore, a case study is presented to illustrate the process of UAS data collection and conclusions drawn for delimitating urban communities.
... It can be defined as one's "reason for being" ' (Schippers, 2017) and "the feeling of being alive here and now and the awareness of the individual that motivates him or her to live" (Hasegawa et al., 2003, p. 1, translated by the authors), or as a sense of "life worth living" (Sone et al., 2008). It can be understood as happiness (Trudel-Fitzgerald et al., 2019), and has been defined as "meaningfulness in one's life" (Kotera et al., 2020, p. 22) or "having a reason for living" (Park, 2015;Fido et al., 2019, p. 1).Ikigai as conceptualized as "purpose of life" has been found to be associated with physical well-being, including reduced mortality and cardiovascular events (Tanno et al., 2009;Ishida, 2012;Cohen et al., 2016;Yasukawa et al., 2018); Trudel-Fitzgerald et al., 2019), and a strong subjective sense of good health (Lee & Ashton, 2020;Kumano, 2018). Research suggests it can influence immune function and decrease mortality risk (Ishida, 2012), and can have a positive effect on depression (Fido et al., 2019). ...
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The aim of this chapter is to expand the discourse on how the Japanese philosophy of ikigai could be integrated into existing andragogical theories such as transformational pedagogy(s) as an instrument of self-reflection, location reassurance and reorientation. In this way, ikigai could be applied beyond the Japanese culture to support people in adult education as “beings in development” regarding self-reflexive processes about themselves and their environment. This can be done in a variety of ways, including by: (a) initiating such processes, (b) designing them in a holistic and sustainable way, (c) potentially considering the individual and the environment in equal measure, and (d) resulting in transformation processes for individuals themselves and the world around them.
... Ikigai, the Japanese term for a life worth living, has gained academic interests as a non-Western concept that pertains to EWB (e.g. Kumano, 2018;Martela & Steger, 2016). Past surveys identified leisure activities (e.g. ...
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Although leisure’s relationships with well-being have been widely studied, the literature lacks non-Western and eudaimonic perspectives. Moreover, leisure researchers have often focused exclusively on leisure. This leaves leisure’s impacts on well-being compared to other life domains understudied. The purpose of this study is to identify various sources of ikigai or ‘life worth living’ in Japanese and to explore leisure’s influences on these sources. The secondary, thematic analysis was applied to data from 27 photo-elicitation interviews with Japanese university students. Five main themes were identified. Self referred to personal standards with which students evaluated the value of their activities and relationships. Tanoshimi, or enjoyment, provided present-focused experiences, positive short-term goals and rewards, and elements of novelty. Shigoto, or work, gave students roles, goals and motivations, and a sense of growth and achievement. Self-care replenished physical, mental, and social resources to continue tanoshimi and shigoto. In authentic relationships, students shared valuable activities with their significant others and exchanged support. Leisure allowed for self-expression, while most tanoshimi activities were deemed as leisure. Some shigoto activities were serious leisure. Leisure activities were also used to do self-care and to maintain authentic relationships.
... A hivatás lényeges eleme, hogy az érdeklődésnek megfelelő munka kiválasztása nem elegendő cél, hanem valami olyat kell választanunk, ami rajtunk túlmutat, ami hozzáad a világhoz (társadalomhoz, környezetünk-höz), mások életéhez valamit. A tanácsadók és coachok például előszeretettel használják a 4. ábrát munkájuk során, amely a japán well-being fogalom, az ikigai (Kumano, 2018) alapján mutatja be a hivatás mibenlétét. kinek a munkájához, minél hosszabban tapasztalja úgy, hogy a munkája értelmes, annál inkább érzi úgy, hogy hivatása van. ...
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SUMMARY Background: The trend of positive psychology has had a significant impact on the thinking and attitudes of the psychologist profession over the past two decades. Books have been translated in Hungary as well, and a number of books and studies have been written by representatives of the psychology. Aims: The present study considers the career psychology aspects of positive psychology and the effects of positive psychology on career psychology, focusing mainly on the international literature after 2010. Method: Literature review based on four review studies and one book. Complemented by a targeted search on job crafting and flow. Results: In career counseling, positive psychology is present on the one hand as a pursuit to strengthen eudaimonic or psychological well-being, and on the other hand in the use of constructs of positive psychological origin or nature (meaningful work, job crafting, career adaptatibility, career resilience, interest, flow) and embodied in one positive psychological intervention (strength-based career counseling). Discussion: Studies on subjective well-being and emotional intelligence offer a new perspective on the goals of career counseling. Attention is drawn to the fact that not only finding the decent job can satisfy individuals, but also developing emotional intelligence, resilience, optimism, hope, and strengthening subjective well-being. It would therefore be worthwhile for career counseling to address the enhancement of positive emotions in several ways. Career development interventions include interventions to develop skills - focusing primarily on career adaptibility and to a lesser extent on career resilience. We know from research that career adaptibility also has a positive effect on subjective well-being, but there are few attempts to apply positive psychological interventions that support the strengthening of subjective well-being. Keywords: career development, positive psychology, subjective well-being, eudaimonic well-being ÖSSZEFOGLALÁS Háttér: A pozitív pszichológiai irányzat a világban és Magyarországon is komoly pályát futott be, jelentős hatást gyakorolva a szakemberek szemléletére. Célkitűzések: A jelen tanulmány a pozitív pszichológia pályalélektani vonatkozásait és a pozitív pszichológiának a pályalélektanra gyakorolt hatásait veszi számba, főként a 2010 utáni nemzetközi szakirodalomra fókuszálva. Módszer: Szakirodalmi áttekintés négy áttekintő tanulmány és egy könyv alapján, kiegészít-ve célzott kereséssel a munkakör-átalakítás és a flow témájában. Eredmények: A pályatanácsadásban a pozitív pszichológia egyrészt az eudaimonikus vagy pszichológiai jóllét erősítésére való törekvésként van jelen, másfelől a pozitív pszichológiai eredetű vagy jellegű konstruktumok (jelentésteliség, hivatás, munkakör-átalakítás, pálya-alkalmazkodás, pályareziliencia, érdeklődés, flow) használatában és végül néhány konkrét pozitív pszichológiai intervencióban (erősségeken alapuló pályatanácsadás) ölt testet. Következtetések: A pályatanácsadás céljait illetően új szempontot kínálnak a szubjektív jóllétre és az érzelmi intelligenciára irányuló vizsgálatok. Arra hívják fel a figyelmet, hogy nem csak a megfelelő munka megtalálása teheti elégedetté az egyént, hanem az érzelmi intelligencia fejlesztése, a reziliencia, az optimizmus, a remény és a szubjektív jóllét erősítése is. Érdemes lenne tehát a pályatanácsadásnak a pozitív érzelmek fokozásával többféle módon is foglalkozni. A pályatanácsadási intervenciók tartalmaznak készségfejlesztő beavat-kozásokat, elsősorban a pályaalkalmazkodásra, kisebb részben a pályarezilienciára fókuszál-va. Kutatásokból tudjuk, hogy a pályaalkalmazkodásnak van pozitív hatása a szubjektív jóllétre is, de csak kevés próbálkozást láthatunk a pozitív pszichológiai intervenciók alkalmazására, amelyek támogatják a szubjektív jóllét erősítését.
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Background: A prerequisite to the interventions for well-being improvement in high-risk pregnancy (HRP) is to make the concept clear, objective, and measurable. Despite the wealth of studies into the concept of well-being in high-risk pregnancy, there is no clear definition for it. This study aimed to explore the concept of well-being in high-risk pregnancy. Methods: This integrative review was conducted using the Whittemore and Knafl’s approach. A literature search was done without any data limitation in dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, well-being-related textbooks, midwifery, psychology, and mental health journals, and Iranian and international databases. The most primary inclusion criterion was relevance well-being in high-risk pregnancy. The full-texts of all articles were assessed using the checklists of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI). Data were analyzed through the constant comparison method and were managed using the MAXQDA 10 software. Meaning units were identified and coded. The codes were grouped into subcategories and categories according to the attributes, antecedents, and consequences of well-being in high-risk pregnancy. Results: Thirty articles were included in the review, from which 540 codes were extracted. The codes were grouped into seven main attributes, eight main antecedents, and five main consequences of well-being in HRP. Findings showed that the four dimensions of well-being in high-risk pregnancy concept were physical, mental-emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. Conclusion: As a complex and multidimensional concept, well-being in high-risk pregnancy refers to the pregnant woman’s evaluation of her life during high-risk pregnancy. It includes physical, hedonic, and eudaimonic components. The assessment of well-being in HRP should include all these components. Keywords: Well-being, Pregnancy, High-risk pregnancy
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Background: A prerequisite to the interventions for well-being improvement in high-risk pregnancy (HRP) is to make the concept clear, objective, and measurable. Despite the wealth of studies into the concept of well-being in HRP, there is no clear definition for it. This study aimed to explore the concept of well-being in HRP. Methods: This integrative review was conducted using the Whittemore and Knafl’s approach. A literature search was done without any data limitation in dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, well-being-related textbooks, midwifery, psychology, and mental health journals, and Iranian and international databases. The most primary inclusion criterion was relevance to well-being in HRP. The full-texts of all these articles were assessed using the checklists of the Joanna Briggs Institute. Data were analyzed through the constant comparison method and were managed using the MAXQDA 10 software. Meaning units were identified and coded. The codes were grouped into subcategories and categories according to the attributes, antecedents, and consequences of well-being in HRP. Results: Thirty articles were included in the review, from which 540 codes were extracted. The codes were grouped into seven main attributes, eight main antecedents, and five main consequences of well-being in HRP. The four unique dimensions of well-being in HRP are physical, mental-emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. These dimensions differentiate well-being in HRP from well-being in low-risk pregnancy and in non-pregnancy conditions. Conclusion: As a complex and multidimensional concept, well-being in HRP refers to the pregnant woman’s evaluation of her life during HRP. It includes physical, hedonic, and eudaimonic components. The assessment of well-being in HRP should include all these components.
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Chapter
The study of happiness, as presented in most chapters of this book is statistical. The researcher asks respondents how happy they are, or how satisfied with their lives they are, and compiles their answers statistically, to offer a universal measure that can be used to compare people of different societies, as well as different social classes, genders, and ages, as to happiness. These statistical findings have, no doubt, a broad accuracy. At a subtler level, however, their accuracy is arguable.
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The purpose of this study is to determine the similarities and differences between ikigai and concepts similar to ikigai. University students (n=601) responded to a questionnaire using 3 scales related to ikigai and 6 scales related to concepts similar to ikigai: subjective well-being, psychological well-being and quality of life (QOL). A11 177 items were subjected to principal component analysis and categorized into 14 principal components. Elements central to ikigai were life-affirmation, goals/dreams, meaning of life, meaning of existence, sense of fulfillment, and commitment. Minor ikigai elements were environmental mastery, positive relations, autonomy, negative affect, personal growth, positive affect, physical health, and life enjoyment. Ikigai and concepts similar to it were represented in a figure consisting of circles drawn using an index of commonality of each element in each of the 9 scales. Results suggested that subjective well-being, psychological well-being, and QOL are not central elements of ikigai; but rather, are elements that differ from ikigai.
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Undergoing chromosome analysis and receiving the results may have various psychosocial effects. To identify the impact on balanced translocation carriers identified through affected offspring, we conducted semi-structured interviews with eleven parents at Saitama Children's Medical Center. The results of the interviews were analyzed qualitatively by the KJ (Kawakita Jiro) method. Categories and subcategories of the various thoughts, emotions and responses experienced by balanced chromosomal translocation carriers were extracted. Participants' reactions were mixed, and appeared to be interrelated in some cases. Parents' reactions were sometimes ambivalent with regard to effects on reproductive issues and disclosure of test results. We recommend genetic counseling before and after carrier testing to help parents cope with the mixed and complex thoughts and feelings that arise upon being identified as a carrier.
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Here is an original and provocative anthropological approach to the fundamental philosophical question of what makes life worth living. Gordon Mathews considers this perennial issue by examining nine pairs of similarly situated individuals in the United States and Japan. In the course of exploring how people from these two cultures find meaning in their daily lives, he illuminates a vast and intriguing range of ideas about work and love, religion, creativity, and self-realization. Mathews explores these topics by means of the Japanese term ikigai, "that which most makes one's life seem worth living." American English has no equivalent, but ikigai applies not only to Japanese lives but to American lives as well. Ikigai is what, day after day and year after year, each of us most essentially lives for. Through the life stories of those he interviews, Mathews analyzes the ways Japanese and American lives have been affected by social roles and cultural vocabularies. As we approach the end of the century, the author's investigation into how the inhabitants of the world's two largest economic superpowers make sense of their lives brings a vital new understanding to our skeptical age.
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Objective: Altruism and cognitive reserve (CR) are associated with better health and well-being. We investigated the independent and moderator effects of altruism and CR on health and well-being in multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: Secondary analysis of data (n = 859) from the North American Research Committee on MS registry. Outcomes: Performance Scales; Ryff Psychological Well-Being; Diener Life Satisfaction. Analyses: Hierarchical series of regression models adjusted for demographic covariates and stratified by neurologic disability. Hypotheses: Independent and moderator effects of altruism and CR on health and well-being. Results: Neither altruism nor passive CR had independent effects on functional health problems. Higher active CR was associated with fewer functional health problems. Altruism and active CR, but not passive CR, had significant main effects on well-being for all levels of disability. There were no moderator effects. Conclusions: Whereas altruism primarily impacted well-being, active CR was an important predictor of both functional health and well-being.
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Reviews the literature since 1967 on subjective well-being (SWB [including happiness, life satisfaction, and positive affect]) in 3 areas: measurement, causal factors, and theory. Most measures of SWB correlate moderately with each other and have adequate temporal reliability and internal consistency; the global concept of happiness is being replaced with more specific and well-defined concepts, and measuring instruments are being developed with theoretical advances; multi-item scales are promising but need adequate testing. SWB is probably determined by a large number of factors that can be conceptualized at several levels of analysis, and it may be unrealistic to hope that a few variables will be of overwhelming importance. Several psychological theories related to happiness have been proposed; they include telic, pleasure and pain, activity, top–down vs bottom–up, associanistic, and judgment theories. It is suggested that there is a great need to more closely connect theory and research. (7 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
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Reigning measures of psychological well-being have little theoretical grounding, despite an extensive literature on the contours of positive functioning. Aspects of well-being derived from this literature (i.e., self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life, and personal growth) were operationalized. Three hundred and twenty-one men and women, divided among young, middle-aged, and older adults, rated themselves on these measures along with six instruments prominent in earlier studies (i.e., affect balance, life satisfaction, self-esteem, morale, locus of control, depression). Results revealed that positive relations with others, autonomy, purpose in life, and personal growth were not strongly tied to prior assessment indexes, thereby supporting the claim that key aspects of positive functioning have not been represented in the empirical arena. Furthermore, age profiles revealed a more differentiated pattern of well-being than is evident in prior research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Research on well-being can be thought of as falling into two traditions. In one—the hedonistic tradition—the focus is on happiness, generally defined as the presence of positive affect and the absence of negative affect. In the other—the eudaimonic tradition—the focus is on living life in a full and deeply satisfying way. Recognizing that much recent research on well-being has been more closely aligned with the hedonistic tradition, this special issue presents discussions and research reviews from the eudaimonic tradition, making clear how the concept of eudaimonia adds an important perspective to our understanding of well-being.
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Work to retirement in Japan is a sequential transition for the most part, and Japan permits mandatory retirement by firms at age 60. But many older people work beyond the age of 60, many more than in other industrialized countries. A number of hypotheses are examined, having to do with pensions, health, opportunity, interest in working, cultural attitudes (including the concept of ikigai), and public policy initiatives (such as employment policy and the Silver Human Resource Centers). Japan's cultural attitudes and existing policies appear to have set Japan on a unique course in considering the aging of its population. To what extent should other nations emulate Japan?
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Using the Japanese concept of ikigai, which describes a certain state of psychological well-being, this study explores how Japanese family caregivers of elderly parents with dementia pursue, maintain, or attempt to regain their psychological well-being in the face of the hardship of caregiving. Using constant comparative methodology, twenty-six Japanese women who were caring for an elderly demented parent or parent-in-law were interviewed. Based on the analysis of interview data, we define ikigai as certain life experiences and/or the positive emotion felt through those experiences that allow the caregiver to judge her life as good and meaningful, and to feel that it is worthwhile to continue living. Caregivers use various different means to pursue their ikigai depending on the context of care. The types of their pursuit of ikigai are examined in varying contexts of caregiving. Because the data suggest that ikigai experience influences how the caregivers' self-understanding changes over time, the notion of ikigai is further explored in relation to the construct of self-understanding.
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Japan's Silver Human Resource Center (SHRC) program provides part-time, paid employment to retirement-aged men and women. We studied 393 new program participants and examined whether part-time work influenced their well-being or "ikigai." The participants were divided into those who had worked in SHRC-provided jobs in the preceding year, and those who had not. Gender-stratified regression models were fitted to determine whether SHRC employment was associated with increased well-being. For men, actively working at a SHRC job was associated with greater well-being, compared to inactive members. And men with SHRC jobs and previous volunteering experience had the greatest increase in well-being. Women SHRC job holders did not experience increased well-being at the year's end. The study concludes that there is justification for exploring the usefulness of a similar program for American retirees who desire post-retirement part-time work.
Shiawase to bunka: positive shinrigaku heno bunkateki approach
  • M Karasawa
  • C Suga
Development of two scales for the ikigai process model: the ikigai process scale and the ikigai state scale
  • M Kumano
Is it possible to compare happiness across cultures?
  • S Oishi
  • A Komiya
Adult development in Japan and the United States: comparing theories and findings about growth, maturity, and well-being. Oxford library of psychology
  • C Ryff
  • J M Boylan
  • C L Coe
  • M Karasawa
  • N Kawakami
  • S Kitayama
KJ ho: konton wo shite katarashimeru
  • J Kawakita
Definition and review of
  • M Kumano
Happiness and the pursuit of a life worth living: an anthropological approach
  • G Mathews
  • YK Ng
  • LS Ho