Being in Japan, one would be surprised to note that although being in one of the top economies and also being a technologically advanced country, there is no rush and hue cry in the country. There are also in-house fights for growth and development but there is a set order in the country.
Basically, while in Japan you can see their concept of life. In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in Japanese concepts developed from their philosophies. Concepts that can change one’s attitude towards life and that everyone can apply in everyday life. While these concepts may not completely revolutionize your everyday life, they could give you that one insight you needed to turn some things around.
These concepts that we are talking about are the helpful mindsets derived from Japanese Culture. Talking about the relevancy of these concepts, we can see that these are the concepts that the Japanese culture lives and thrive by. Being the country to house the oldest living people in the world, there is no argument that theirs is a model to live by.
Check out the following 7 Japanese Philosophies that we should embrace for happy and orderly living.
In Japanese, the word “ Kaizen” is a word that means continuous improvement. It refers to the changing for the better and is a personal and business philosophy seeking to constantly improve efficiency and productivity. It has become a concept by which to instill desirable habits and improve efficiency and functionality in our own personal life.
This Japanese concept refers to the fact that nobody shall compare with others as everybody is an individual and have their own form. It comes from the kanji for the four trees that bloom in spring: cherry, plum, apricot, and peach. Each flower blooms in its own time and it’s a reminder that everyone is on their own journey through life.
Therefore, Oubaitori is the acceptance of not comparing yourself to others and focusing on your own growth. There’s never any rush to get to where you think you need to be. There is no straight path through life and oubaitori is a helpful reminder of taking the pressure away.
The most difficult concept that Japanese philosophy had given is the concept of Japan. Wabi-sabi is an elegant philosophy that denotes a more connected way of living—a lifestyle, where we are deeply connected to nature, and thus, better connected to our truest inner selves.
Wabi-sabi is a concept that motions us to constantly search for beauty in imperfection and accept the more natural cycle of life. It reminds us that all things including us and life itself, are impermanent, incomplete, and imperfect. Perfection, then, is impossible and impermanence is the only way.
Taken individually, Wabi and Sabi are two separate concepts:
Wabi is about recognizing beauty in humble simplicity. It invites us to open our hearts and detach from the vanity of materialism so we can experience spiritual richness instead.
Sabi is concerned with the passage of time, the way all things grow, age, and decay, and how it manifests itself beautifully in objects. It suggests that beauty is hidden beneath the surface of what we actually see, even in what we initially perceive as broken.
Together, these two concepts create an overarching philosophy for approaching life: Accept what is, stay in the present moment, and appreciate the simple, transient stages of life.
There’s a plethora of wisdom embedded within the very fabric of this age-old philosophy. Here are five of these Wabi-sabi teachings that can better help you to fully step away from the modern-day struggles of moving fast, striving for perfection, and chasing inorganic forms of success.
Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.”
When combined, these terms mean that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose.
Ikigai is similar to the French term “raison d’etre” or “reason for being.”
Okinawa, the southern island off of mainland Japan, is home to one of the highest ratios of centenarians to population. Okinawa is also a hotbed of ikigai ideology. Here the mild weather, healthy diet, and low level of stress are also factors, but it’s the island’s active population of non-retiring, purpose-driven residents that links them to other long-living communities in Sardinia, Italy, and Icaria, Greece.
Ikigai could be anything from watching the sunrise to trying out new recipes, to volunteering at a local shelter, or spending time with family — there’s nothing too trivial as long as it provides you with pleasure and a sense of motivation. “The Japanese are traditionally in the mindset that there are many, many little things that make your life worthwhile — not necessarily all these grand goals,” adds Mogi.
The Japanese art form referred to as “kintsugi,” which means golden journey, and “kintsukuroi,” referring to golden repair, is most commonly correlated to the mending of broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer. A result is a stunning object due to the celebration of its flaws. The practice of kintsugi stems from the concept of wabi-sabi in which imperfections are considered admirable. The name itself refers to the golden journeys we all have thus this perspective can help us embrace our own flaws as embellishments that make things and people even more beautiful. Many artists have been inspired by the concept and have channeled this art form in their work.
People needed metaphors and objects to understand the art of healing. Kintsugi reveals how to heal and shows you that you are better with your golden cracks, learning just how relevant the message of Kintsugi is to our everyday lives. Whether you’re going through the loss of a loved one or a job, or are recovering from an injury, divorce, or other personal tragedy, Kintsugi can be a way to reframe hardships to remind yourself that you’re not a victim of your circumstances — and to help you come out the other side stronger.
The Japanese term “Gaman” translates to mean “ patience, perseverance, and tolerance”. It refers to enduring difficult situations with self-control and dignity. Every child in Japan is taught to gaman: to patiently persevere in tough times. This is the way to create an orderly society. In Japan, calm and orderly behavior seems to be the characteristic of the biggest crowds. All these are the outcome of Gaman. Although at times the younger generation seems to shun Gaman but the concept itself has its own beauty.
It is an ancient Buddhist term that translates into having full respect for the resources available, not wasting these resources, and using them with a sense of gratitude. Mottainai is closely associated with the conservation practices that are recognized in the west as the three R’s- Reduce, reuse, recycle- with a fourth R added: respect. The “respect” practice stems from the Shinto belief that objects have souls.