The Japanese Self Help Craze Explained

A Note from Malorie Tadimi: Hello Imperfect Women! Have you noticed the growing buzz around Japanese self-help books? If you’ve been looking for fresh inspiration and unique perspectives on personal growth, you might want to dive into this trend. Japanese self-help is taking the world by storm, offering a blend of wisdom, simplicity, and practicality that resonates deeply with readers. Let’s explore why people are into it, how it differs from Western methods, and why you should give it a try.

Malorie Tadimi — Founder, Imperfect Woman®

Why is everyone into Japanese self-help right now?

Japanese self-help books stand out for their unique approach to personal development. They emphasize mindfulness, minimalism, and the beauty of small, consistent steps toward improvement.

Here’s why this trend is captivating so many people:

  1. Simplicity and Minimalism: Japanese self-help often focuses on simplifying life and reducing clutter, both physical and mental. This resonates with many who feel overwhelmed by the complexities of modern living.

  2. Mindfulness and Presence: These books encourage living in the present moment and finding joy in everyday routines. This approach helps reduce stress and promotes a sense of peace and contentment.

  3. Cultural Insights: They offer a glimpse into Japanese culture and philosophy, which can be refreshing and enlightening for readers from different backgrounds.

Key Concepts in Japanese Self-Help

Several core concepts underpin Japanese self-help, each offering valuable insights for personal growth.

Here are they are:

  1. Ikigai: Often translated as "reason for being," ikigai is about finding what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. It’s a holistic approach to discovering and pursuing your passions.

  2. Kaizen: This concept means "continuous improvement." It encourages making small, incremental changes consistently to achieve significant long-term improvements.

  3. Wabi-Sabi: This philosophy finds beauty in imperfection and transience. It teaches acceptance of the imperfect and transient nature of life, promoting a sense of peace and appreciation.

  4. Osechi: Traditionally, osechi are special dishes prepared for New Year’s in Japan. In the self-help context, it refers to organizing one’s life into tidy, meaningful sections, reflecting a balance of various aspects of living.

Here are some must-read Japanese self-help books that encapsulate these principles:

  1. "Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life" by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles
    Amazon Link: Ikigai

  2. "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo
    Amazon Link: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

  3. "Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism" by Fumio Sasaki

    Amazon Link: Goodbye, Things

  4. "Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life" by Beth Kempton

    Amazon Link: Wabi Sabi

  5. "The Courage to Be Disliked: How to Free Yourself, Change Your Life, and Achieve Real Happiness" by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

    Amazon Link: The Courage to Be Disliked

  6. "The Little Book of Ikigai: The Essential Japanese Way to Finding Your Purpose in Life" by Ken Mogi

    Amazon Link: The Little Book of Ikigai

  7. "Kaizen: The Japanese Method for Transforming Habits, One Small Step at a Time" by Sarah Harvey

    Amazon Link: Kaizen

  8. "Awakening Your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day" by Ken Mogi

    Amazon Link: Awakening Your Ikigai

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Directions: Grab a journal and use these prompts to explore becoming the best version of yourself.

  1. Discover Your Ikigai: What activities make you lose track of time because you enjoy them so much? Write about how you can incorporate more of these into your daily life. How do they align with what the world needs and what you can offer?

  2. Embrace Wabi-Sabi: Reflect on an area in your life where you strive for perfection. How can you shift your mindset to see the beauty in imperfection? Write about a recent "imperfect" moment and what you learned from it.


True happiness comes from accepting and embracing all parts of yourself, including the imperfect ones."

– Fumio Sasaki

Final Thoughts

Try the journal prompts and explore the recommended books. I have a feeling these will help you get a few steps closer to your goals.

Malorie Tadimi
Founder, Imperfect Woman®

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