52 episodes

You’ve probably heard of the Japanese concept of “Ikigai” but are wondering how you can successfully apply it to your life. How do you start living a life of purpose, jumping out of bed, excited to face the day?
Join the Tokyo based, British born facilitator and coach, Jennifer Shinkai and her guests to hear real-life stories of how regular people found and integrated their ikigai. Be inspired by how they took their first steps and how their lives have changed.
Still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up? Looking for practical tips to find your ikigai? Then this show is for you.

Ikigai with Jennifer Shinkai Jennifer Shinkai

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

You’ve probably heard of the Japanese concept of “Ikigai” but are wondering how you can successfully apply it to your life. How do you start living a life of purpose, jumping out of bed, excited to face the day?
Join the Tokyo based, British born facilitator and coach, Jennifer Shinkai and her guests to hear real-life stories of how regular people found and integrated their ikigai. Be inspired by how they took their first steps and how their lives have changed.
Still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up? Looking for practical tips to find your ikigai? Then this show is for you.

    Finding Yoyu & Cultivating Abundance in Your Life, with Marci Kobayashi

    Finding Yoyu & Cultivating Abundance in Your Life, with Marci Kobayashi

    Welcome to another episode of the Ikigai with Jennifer Shinkai podcast. This week we are talking about yoyu, a Japanese concept conveying one’s capacity to handle or afford something. Author Marci Kobayashi joins us to discuss the concept of yoyu and her upcoming book, "Finding Yoyu: The Japanese Compass for Navigating Overwhelm and Cultivating Abundance in 7 Key Areas of Life."  Listen to the episode to hear more about yoyu and how it links to ikigai!
    If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. 

    In this episode you’ll hear:
    What Yoyu is and how Marci came to learn about itHow Marci applied the concept of Yoyu to a challenging time in her lifeAbout the importance of proactively taking time for yourselfAbout ‘tiny altars’ and how they make claiming space more manageableHow you can figure out what makes you feel a sense of yoyu


    About Marci:
    Marci Kobayashi is a writer, teacher, and business owner in Tokyo. Raised in the U.S., she arrived in Japan as a college student in the early ’90s and has lived there ever since. In 2002, she started a company to provide English-conversation programs and study-abroad advising, which evolved into assisting international organizations and entrepreneurs in improving their global reach online through web design and coaching.

    Marci also has a dedicated spiritual practice, enjoys studying alternative-healing modalities, cooking a whole-foods flexitarian diet, and exploring Japan. She is the author of the upcoming book, "Finding Yoyu: The Japanese Compass for Navigating Overwhelm and Cultivating Abundance in 7 Key Areas of Life." She's also working on a memoir chronicling the five years she was the primary caregiver for her father-in-law, a WWII Japanese war veteran, as he navigated Alzheimer’s.

    Connect with Marci:
    Website: https://marcikobayashi.com/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarciSKobayashi
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marcikobayashi/
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marci-kobayashi/
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/marcikobayashi


    Connect with Jennifer:
    Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifershinkai/ 
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifershinkaicoach 
    Website: https://jennifershinkai.com/ 
    Instagram Coaching and Podcast: https://www.instagram.com/ikigaiwithjennifershinkai/
    Instagram Artist: https://www.instagram.com/jennifershinkai/
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ikigaiwithjennifershinkai/

    • 57 min
    Obsessive Ikigai & The Healing Power of Self Love, with Elizabeth Hendrick

    Obsessive Ikigai & The Healing Power of Self Love, with Elizabeth Hendrick

    This week’s episode contains general discussions of BDSM and torture.
    Welcome to the latest episode of the Ikigai with Jennifer Shinkai podcast. This week we talk to author Elizabeth Hendrick about her book EXODAI, a memoir about her struggles with her sexuality and the story of how she eventually learnt to love herself after a particularly toxic BDSM relationship with a Japanese dominatrix. For over a decade Elizabeth’s ikigai compelled her to write about her own experiences in order to help others who have been ostracised for being part of the LGBTQ+ community, and who have struggled with self acceptance, self love and healing. 
    If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. 

    In this episode you’ll hear:
    About Elizabeth’s memoir EXODAI and what compelled her to write itHow Elizabeth felt ostracised as a young LGBTQ+ person and struggled to reconcile her sexuality with her Christian beliefsWhat made Elizabeth realise she lacked self love and how she decided to heal herselfHow Elizabeth ended up in a torturous relationship with a Japanese dominatrixAbout the dark side of ikigai and how it can be an obsession or addiction


    Things mentioned in the episode:
    FEW Japan June Conference:
    https://fewjapan.com/css-2024-the-fewture-conference/

    Buy the EXODAI book here:
    https://exodai.co.uk/


    About Elizabeth:
    ELIZABETH HENDRICK published her debut work, EXODAI, in September 2023. She was compelled to write about her struggles with her sexuality and narrate the story of how she eventually learnt to love herself as a lesbian woman, placing particular emphasis on her BDSM relationship with a Japanese dominatrix. Elizabeth believes her story will be of value not just to LGBTQ+ and BDSM/fetish communities, but to all individuals who have been ostracised during their adolescence and whose lack of self-love is sabotaging their adult lives. EXODAI is also an intriguing peek behind the curtain of Tokyo’s exotic and sometimes shocking BDSM underworld.

    Elizabeth was born and raised in East Anglia. She graduated in mathematics from Durham University in 1994 and began a career in financial services in London. In 2004, she left finance to enter the risky world of entrepreneurial start-ups. During her first project to launch a film magazine, she developed the practice of keeping a diary of events. It was her cathartic response to dealing with the stress of heading up an underfunded start-up. Since then, she has kept records and written memoirs covering all her remarkable life experiences, including being a contestant on a reality TV show. In 2016, Elizabeth retired from the corporate world and moved into part-time business education, specifically to focus on her career as a writer. Over the course of her life, she has lived and worked in London, Paris, Tokyo, and Dubai. She currently works and resides in Tokyo, and she doesn't stop writing!
    Ultimately, Elizabeth is keen to promote self-awareness in the realm of sexuality and bring solace to those who have been ostracised or who lack self-love and acceptance.


    Connect with Elizabeth:
    Website: https://www.exodai.co.uk/ 
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@exodai 
    Instagram: a href="https://www.instagram.com/exodainarrated/"...

    • 55 min
    The Ikigai in Vagabondism, with Tengyo Kura

    The Ikigai in Vagabondism, with Tengyo Kura

    Welcome to another episode of season three of the Ikigai with Jennifer Shinkai podcast. On the podcast this week I got to sit down with Tengyo Kura, a self professed vagabond. Tengyo has a beautiful outlook on life that has propelled him around the world to connect with many people from different cultures, countries and experiences. Vagabondism is how Tengyo lives his life and is directly connected to his ikigai, and is a way for him to experience true connection to other people. Tengyo has some amazing insights to share with you all that will leave you truly inspired to seek out more true connection in your own life!
    If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. 
    In this episode you’ll hear:
    How teaching languages to students made Tengyo realise he was a storyteller at heartWhy we can never truly understand each other completely, but how love and respect lead to true connectionWhat vagabondism means to Tengyo & what we can learn from people living a vagabond lifeTengyo’s advice for those interested in experiencing vagabondism for themselves
    About Tengyo Kura:
    Tengyo was born in 1972, and studied anthropology at a university in Tokyo.
    Since 2001, Tengyo has been living as a vagabond (stranger) in various parts of the world.
    Tengyo taught English at a university in Mongolia, was a language teacher at a law school in Sri Lanka and encountered the Tsunami in 2004. He was a lecturer of Contemporary Japanese Culture at a university college in Norway (2005-2009), and organized the Hiroshima A-bomb exhibition in cooperation with the City of Hiroshima and the Nobel Peace Committee in 2008. He was a Japanese language and cultural teacher at a secondary school in Latvia (2011-2012), and was nominated for the Best Teacher Award in the capital city of Riga in 2011. 
    Tengyo lived in India and other Asian countries and wrote stories for his storytelling work “Chronicle of Vagabondism” in 2013. He collaborated with Latvian artists for the EU Capital of Culture Commemorative Event in Riga, Latvia in 2014. He lived in several countries in South America and wrote stories for his storytelling work “Chronicle of Vagabondism” from 2014 to 2016. Tengyo also created a storytelling artwork "The Tokyo Vagabond x Ueno" in 2017. Tengyo was a storyteller of an exchange program for TURN, a big cultural project initiated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2017-2020). He also worked with Cocoroom, an art NPO in the biggest Japanese homelessness community in Osaka City (2020-2022), and was appointed as a chief member of the NPO in 2022.
    Tengyo resumed activities in Africa in November 2022, and introduced a Japanese concept of social inclusive programs to countries in the southern part of Africa. Tengyo is now carrying out various activities called African Jamboree 2025 that emphasize cultural exchange between Japan and some African nations until 2025.


    Connect with Tengyo:
    Website: https://vagabond.link/


    Connect with Jennifer:
    Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifershinkai/ 
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifershinkaicoach 
    Website: https://jennifershinkai.com/ 
    Instagram Coaching and Podcast: a href="https://www.instagram.com/ikigaiwithjennifershinkai/" rel="noopener noreferrer"...

    • 41 min
    Unlocking Ikigai: Navigating Transitions and Emerging with Purpose with Adrian Francis

    Unlocking Ikigai: Navigating Transitions and Emerging with Purpose with Adrian Francis

    Welcome to Season 3 of Ikigai with Jennifer Shinkai!
    Adrian Francis is the filmmaker behind the powerful documentary Paper City, exploring the impact of the firebombing of Tokyo in 1945 and the ongoing struggle for it to be acknowledged and remembered. Adrian was brave enough to come on the show at a point where he has not figured out his next steps yet. I thought this was an opportunity not to be missed: to hear from someone in the midst of a transition after completing a major project. If you are also going through a period of transition and haven’t got it all figured out, I think you will find much solace and inspiration in this episode. All those questions? Those hard to grasp ideas and concepts that feel so murky right now? Totally normal…in fact, an essential part of the process!
    If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. 
    In this episode you’ll hear:
    How Adrian came to make a film about the firebombing of TokyoWhat happens when you finish a project that has been the main focus of your lifeHow you can find meaning for your next challengeFlashing forward and backward in our lives to see what our values are independent of current circumstances
    About Adrian
    Originally from Australia, Adrian Francis has lived in Tokyo for 17 years, working as a teacher, writer, and documentary filmmaker. He majored in documentary film at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University. Francis directed the award-winning documentary short, Lessons from the Night, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. He was invited to participate in the Berlinale Talents program at the Berlin Film Festival, where he began developing the project that would become Paper City—his first feature-length film. Paper City premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2021 and has screened theatrically in Japan, and internationally at festivals and through Al Jazeera's Witness series. It has won numerous awards, including the Audience Award at the Tokyo Documentary Film Festival, an ATOM (Australian Teachers of Media) Award for Best History Documentary, and Best Emerging Director at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. He recently gave a TEDxWasedaU talk on the bombing of civilians, Paper City: Memory, Forgetting, and the Firebombing of Tokyo. Most recently, Adrian has become interested in what we can do to take climate change action.
    Things mentioned in the episode:
    Paper City Screening:
    March 1-7 at Eigakan Stranger
    Screening daily at 11:20 (with English subtitles)
    3 Chome-7-1 Kikukawa, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0024
    https://stranger.jp/movie/2541/
    TEDxWasedaU Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFr3U3bbuMg
    Connect with Adrian and find out more about Paper City:
    Paper City Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/papercitytokyo/
    Paper City Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/papercitytokyo
    Paper City X: https://twitter.com/papercitytokyo
    Paper City Website: papercityfilm.com
    Adrian’s Instagram: a href="https://www.instagram.com/_adrian_francis_/" rel="noopener noreferrer"...

    • 49 min
    Finding Your Ikigai in the Midst of a Mental Health Challenge, with David Macdonald

    Finding Your Ikigai in the Midst of a Mental Health Challenge, with David Macdonald

    Content Warning: In this episode of the podcast David Macdonald and I have a frank discussion of mental illness, depression, suicidal ideation and suicidal thoughts.
    If you are in Japan and want to talk to someone about these issues please consider contacting the Tokyo English lifeline at https://telljp.com/.
    Today on the podcast we have a very important conversation with David Macdonald about mental health challenges. Originally from Canada, David is CEO of an independent advisory and consulting firm, focused on supporting Japanese companies go global, and global companies come to Japan, especially in media and tech. Whilst in the corporate world David experienced some mental health challenges that led to a diagnosis of depression and then later bipolar disorder. In this episode David and I discuss what ikigai means to someone for whom simply getting out of bed in the morning is their reason to get out of bed.
    If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. 

    In this episode you’ll hear:
    What brought David to Japan in the 90sWhat it was like for David to be succeeding in his corporate career while simultaneously experiencing depression and being diagnosed as bipolarThe importance of being honest at work and at home about the internal challenges you are facingAbout the work of a Japanese firm, Tech Doctors, using data from wearable devices to improve diagnoses and therapies for various illnessesWhat you can do if you think someone you know is experiencing a mental health challenge like depression

    About David:
    David is CEO of an independent advisory and consulting firm, focused on supporting Japanese companies go global, and global companies come to Japan, especially in media and tech.  David brings decades of international experience, including strategic leadership, general management, culture development and talent strategy, and a rich multicultural background.

    A Canadian native with formative years in Germany and the UK, David came to Japan in 1995.  Armed with a BA (Honors) in History and Politics (International Relations) and an MSc in East Asian Business, he also holds several qualifications in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Governance, and Cross-cultural Leadership and Management, and is a strong advocate of mental health awareness in the workforce, and is very open with his own struggles with bipolar disorder.

    He helped pioneer NTT DoCoMo’s non-Japanese team in 1999, with the i-mode mobile internet service.  His trajectory included key roles at major media and tech brands like Disney, Google (YouTube), and Discovery as GM and President for Japan.  Much of his work at Discovery focused on transformation, and post-merger with Warner Media, he steered the Discovery business and served as VP for Networks. 

    He also serves as an Independent Director for Tokyo Prime traded KADOKAWA CORPORATION, as a member of the remuneration committee, and stewards diverse non-profits as a member of their boards.

    Things mentioned in the episode:
    David’s TedXtalk: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_macdonald_let_s_talk_about_mental_health


    Connect with David:
    Website: http://djmac.jp
    LinkedIn: a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/djmacdonald/" rel="noopener noreferrer"...

    • 50 min
    The Ikigai in Empowering Others to Have Fitness Autonomy, with Menya Hinga

    The Ikigai in Empowering Others to Have Fitness Autonomy, with Menya Hinga

    Happy Holidays everyone! This can be a time that tests our health and wellness goals, so this episode’s guest is here to help. Menya Hinga is an online health and fitness coach and co-founder of SOGO Fitness—Japan’s largest non-profit fitness community. Menya has helped hundreds of individuals and numerous organizations make better decisions related to fitness, habits and health. Listen to the episode to feel more empowered and confident in your ability to make changes in your life!
    If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. 
    In this episode you’ll hear:
    How an online health and fitness coach is different to a personal trainerWhat fitness autonomy is and why Menya strives to help his clients achieve itWhat made Menya reassess his relationship to alcohol and drinkingThe importance of your environment when making big changes in your lifeHow Menya empowers people to believe in their own ability to change


    About Menya:
    Menya helps high-performers who are struggling to manage stress and weight gain, learn to stress less, move more, and eat better in order to transform their health and performance.
    As an expat, father of 3 (soon to be 4!), and personal trainer turned online health and fitness coach, Menya knows how difficult it can be to create work-life balance while wearing many different hats.
    So for more than a decade he’s helped hundreds of individuals and numerous organizations make better decisions related to fitness, habits and health as a health and fitness coach, personal trainer, and co-founder of SOGO Fitness—Japan’s largest non-profit fitness community.

    Connect with Menya:
    Website: www.menyahinga.com
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/menyahinga/ 
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/menyahinga
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/menyahinga/

    Connect with Jennifer
    Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifershinkai/ 
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifershinkaicoach 
    Website: https://jennifershinkai.com/ 
    Instagram Coaching and Podcast: https://www.instagram.com/ikigaiwithjennifershinkai/
    Instagram Artist: https://www.instagram.com/jennifershinkai/
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ikigaiwithjennifershinkai/

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Line Master Wannabe ,

Loving this journey!

Jennifer, I appreciate how you humanize a difficult topic like Ikigai. The diverse perspectives represented on your Podcasts are unmatched and welcome. Thank you 🙏🏾 I’m looking forward to seeing how this series evolves.

Offonawhim ,

So inspirational

I’m two enjoying this podcast series and find is very inspirational and motivational. Thank you Jennifer for branching out to launch it!

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