7 Japanese words that can guide your life

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The Japanese language is unique and thanks to its ideograms it is able to express words with abundant meanings and with its own concept. In this article, we will share 7 Japanese words that can guide your life for the better. 

The Japanese know the concept of their words, their origin, meaning and idea thanks to the ideograms that facilitate this process. Unfortunately, in Brazil, we are mostly unaware of the origin of words in our language.

Everything in the Japanese language has a meaning and an interesting origin that can be discussed. We will spend our entire lives without knowing the full essence of words, but we can know the important words that can guide and change our lives. 


The Japanese Word Ikigai - 生き甲斐 - Purpose of Life

If we are talking about words that can guide our lives, it is clear that we must start with a purpose, objective or motivation to live. Ikigai literally means life purpose and is a very important word for Japanese people. 

It is written with the ideograms of [生き] which means to live and [甲斐] which means value, effect, result or result. Ikigai is such a powerful word that it involves an entire art, philosophy, concept and secret behind the word.

There are people who dedicate their entire lives to the study of Ikigai and help others to discover the purpose of life. We’ve already written an article talking about that word, click here to read more about Ikigai

7 palavras japonesas que podem guiar sua vida

The Word Yoisho - よいしょ - EFFORT

 The word Yoisho is a little unknown, it is not usually taught at school or in Japanese courses. Despite this, it is a word widely known and used among the Japanese. Yoisho is a cry of encouragement for yourself or others.


A little written word, but a lot spoken during some action in order to express effort or relieve tension. For example, a group of people who are about to lift something heavy. Or it can be spoken alone when we are tense to give a certain strength. 

7 palavras japonesas que podem guiar sua vida

The most incredible thing is that this word is often spoken, but little written, thus showing its omnipresence. This word accompanies the Japanese throughout their life, in their daily struggles. It may not seem important, but it is a word that can move mountains. 

The word yoisho is considered a kakegoe [掛け声] a word that means war cry or encouragement used in events like taiko, bon odori, kabuki, undokai and others. Yoishi goes far beyond that and is part of the daily life of the Japanese. 


The Word Shouganai - 仕様がない - Accept the inevitable

THE word shouganai it means it cannot be helped, it cannot be done, it is inevitable, there is no solution or the like. However, that word is not always discouraging or hopeless. 

7 palavras japonesas que podem guiar sua vida

We live in a world where the things we want don't always work out. To say Shouganai is to accept that loudness is beyond your control. Many use this word to encourage people to realize that something was not their fault. 

 Accepting that something went wrong is a solution for us to move forward without regrets. The shouganai shou [仕様] means path, method, resource or something specific. As our paths don't always work out, shouganai will help guide our lives. 


The Wabi Sabi Word - 侘び寂び - World View

The next Japanese word that will guide your life is quite comprehensive and involves a complete view of the world through aesthetics. This aesthetic feeling of Japanese art is centered on acceptance, transition and imperfection. 

Despite being a word involving art, its meaning refers to the way of life that consists in accepting the imperfections of life, the natural cycle of growth and decay. Through wabi-sabi, it is possible to empty the mind and bring tranquility. 

7 palavras japonesas que podem guiar sua vida

The aesthetics of wabi-sabi involve asymmetry, harshness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty and intimacy. It seems difficult to explain, but wabi-sabi can affect the way we live, decorate our home and enjoy nature. 

The word Ganbatte - 頑張って - do your best

This is one of the most popular words in the Japanese language, its purpose is to encourage people to strive for something. Ganbatte it involves doing your best, going ahead, staying focused, holding on, fighting, not giving up and working hard.

Ganbatte means to persevere, persist, insist and remain. Some end up translating ganbatte to good luck, as it is often said to people who are about to take a test or experience some difficulty.

7 palavras japonesas que podem guiar sua vida

I want to take advantage of the occasion and mention another related word which is akiramenaide [諦めないで] which means do not give up, do not lose hope. Both words tell you to never give up on life and face hardship! 

The Japanese Word Kaizen - 改善 - Improvement

Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy and practice that promises to continuously improve your projects, business and even your health. Despite being applied most of the time within companies, understanding this word can help guide your life in a productive and improved way. 


The concept of kaizen can help you cut expenses, get organized and increase productivity and dedication to something. It was that word that was largely responsible for the growth of Japan and the dedication of the Japanese to various aspects of life.


7 palavras japonesas que podem guiar sua vida

Kaizen involves being transparent, focusing on the future, changing at any time, not being negative, not looking for perfection, prioritizing quality and not putting things off. If you let kaizen guide your life, it will surely be one of the best. 

We wrote a great article on Kaizen that you can read by clicking here. In addition, I will leave some interesting books on Kaizen below, in case you are interested in going deeper into the subject through reading. 

The Omotenashi Word - お持て成し - Japanese Hospitality

Omotenashi goes far beyond a simple hospitality or education, involves reception, treatment and service without superficiality. It involves strive for the next even when not requested or needed. 


Omotenashi it involves treating your guest, client or neighbor in the best possible way. It is like the golden rule that says "Treat others as you would like to be treated". And all of this without obligation, without expecting anything in return or for ulterior motives.

Some Egoists will find this totally unnecessary to guide our lives, but the way we treat others will affect our lives in the present or future. The lack of Omotenashi is one of the main reasons for a Catastrophic Brazil. 

7 palavras japonesas que podem guiar sua vida

Omotenashi involves other words that we know in Portuguese as humility, honesty, friendship and love. These are words that we know very well and that can guide our life in the best possible way. 

If we apply the philosophies and lifestyles taught by all these words mentioned in the article, we will have a great compass to face all the difficulties of life and have the best results. 

I hope you enjoyed the article, if you liked it share and leave your comments. Of the thousands of Japanese words, what other word do you find interesting to guide our lives?