International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology

Meaning of Life According to a Japanese Sample

Yoshiyuki Takano, Ph.D.

University of Prince Edward Island

Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D.

Trinity Western University


The meaning of life is vital to fulfilling people’s lives, but people often are lost in how to access their meaning of life. The Personal Meaning Profile (Wong, 1998) was developed to measure the various sources of personal meaning. The present study is part of a larger research project to create a culturally specific measure of the Personal Meaning Profile. In this study of creating a Japanese version of the Personal Meaning Profile, 103 Japanese subjects who reside in Japan were asked to describe their beliefs or understanding of an ideal meaningful life in their language. The qualitative results revealed ten themes: (1) Achievement, perseverance, and striving; (2) Intimacy; (3) Integrity, authenticity, and responsibility; (4) Sense of appreciation; (5) Sense of harmony and peace; (6) Self-transcendence; (7) Self-acceptance; (8) Self-fulfillment; (9) Family and their prosperity; and (10) Respecting and honouring ancestors and their spirits. The Japanese version of the Personal Meaning Profile can aid Japanese people with an avenue to discover their sources of meaning of life.

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