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Issue Date: 1993
Citation: THANG LENG LENG (1993). IKIGAI AMONG ELDERLY IN OKINAWA. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Over the past few decades, the term ikigai (purpose in living) and its broad ideal has become an integral part of the welfare policy for elderly in Japan. However, research studies on the ikigai of elderly has not been particularly useful in determining the factors in their lives that give them ikigai. Although the objective sources of ikigai such as work and organised activities has often been reaffirmed in the studies, little information about the individual elderly and their perception of their sources of ikigai has been generated from them. Thus the purpose of this study was to elicit the sources of ikigai as perceived by the elderly. In order to carry out the study, in-depth interviews were conducted in Okinawa with a sample of 40 Okinawan elderly between 70-90 years of age. The research showed that besides the commonly discussed sources such as work and organised activities, other intrinsic sources such as interpersonal relationships, one's perception of the past and future also provide ikigai to the elderly. It was also found that values manifested in the sources of ikigai are interwoven, indicating that a value can often be fulfilled by more than one source. The unique socio-cultural characteristics of Okinawa was also found to be significant to the ikigai of the respondents. The study also examined the role of ikigai policy in enhancing the ikigai of the elderly and suggested the need to draw up a more comprehensive policy catering not only to the healthy aged, but also to the "minority" in the aged population, including the old-old, semi-frail and bed-ridden elderly. Finally, the study pondered upon the question of the relationship between ikigai and longevity. As Okinawa is a region known for the long-living of its people, the sources of ikigai revealed by these elderly inevitably related positively to longevity.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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