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In Eternal Quest of a Fluid Ikigai

The book titled Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Frances Miralles illuminates its readers with the secrets of a long and happy life.

On 28 January 2020, students and faculty of the Diploma Program attended a virtual session with authors of the acclaimed book. The event began with a film curated by Anushhka Thakur and Aditi Amritesh of DP 1 to introduce the authors and the book. On piquing the interest of the audience , moderators Diya Sood and Nalinaksha Basu of DP 2 welcomed the authors and requested them to shed light on the Ikigai, the age-old Japanese ideology and their journey of co-authoring the book.

The authors mentioned about their previous experience and fields of work, Frances Miralles having rich experience in the field of psychology and Hector Garcia’s affiliation with Japanese culture. They spoke of their first meeting, the decision to work together, and an upcoming book, exploring the application of Ikigai for teenagers. Furthermore, the authors answered several questions ranging from ideas lost or distorted in translation, to whether animals can have an Ikigai. It was a delight to hear them read their favourite parts from the book and share why they enjoyed writing them, while recounting their interactions with the people of Okinawa— a quaint village in Japan, whose inhabitants live to be over a century young.

The thought-provoking session ended on an egalitarian note. An understanding of the world, according to the authors, can be best aspired to when unfettered by the intransigence of rigid disciplines. Hector Garcia put it succinctly, “Things make sense when mixed!” Science and Philosophy when no longer occlusive categories, can construct an organic understanding of life and its many paradoxes.

Shloka Marwah, a student of DP 1 expressed, “The session was enlightening and allowed students to grasp the very concept of Ikigai along with its origins.” The attendees left the meeting with a newfound curiosity for Japanese culture and its inter-contextual ramifications. Not only did the students feel motivated to read the book, but also apply the Ikigai philosophy in their lives.

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