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Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 419–433 | Cite as

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

  • Michiko Kumano
Article

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.

Keywords

Shiawase Ikigai Everyday term Hedonic well-being Eudaimonic well-being Japan 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI (Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research) Grant Number 23530878, 26380911.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he/she has no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOsaka Ohtani UniversityTondahayashiJapan

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