If you want to find out the Japanese secret to health and longevity, this is the site you are looking for, so stick around.
My name is Sachiaki Takamiya and I am the author of IKIGAI DIET: The Secret of Japanese Diet to Health and Longevity. I have also written books called IKIGAI BUSINESS: The Secret of Japanese Omi Merchants to Find a Profitable, Meaningful, and Socially friendly Business, and Zen and a Way of Sustainable Prosperity: A Teaching of Omi Merchants Who Thrived In 18th Century Japan. I help people lead a lifestyle to stay healthy, conduct a business that you can enjoy and benefits society at the same time, and be successful at your mission so that you can grow spiritually, as well.
I am 56 years old but I have been diagnosed that my vascular age was 21 years younger.
Well, I am not going to talk about my secret to staying young, because that is whole nother story, but I am going to share the secret of many Japanese people to staying healthy and living long.
Recently, Japan has been featured in many books as the nation of health and longevity, and some of them state that Ikigai, the life purpose, is our secret to them. While that is partially true, I don’t think Ikigai is the solo factor of Japanese health and longevity.
Our diet plays a bigger role because there is a distinct difference between the Japanese diet and others. Ikigai, on the other hand, I don’t think Japanese people have clearer life purpose than people in other countries.
And yet, even our diet isn’t the solo ingredient of our well-being. If there is anything that can be regarded as the key to our health and long life, I think it is Satoyama lifestyle. Well, Japanese diet is part of Satoyama lifestyle.
In the book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, Héctor García gives the following factors contributing to their long life seen among the centenarians in Ogimi Village in Okinawa.
1, They keep a vegetable garden
2, They belong to some form of neighborhood association
3, They celebrate all the time with music and dance
4, They have an Ikigai, an important purpose in their life
5, They are proud of their tradition and local culture
6, They are passionate about everything they do
7, They help each other
8, They are always busy doing something
When I read this part, I wasn’t surprised because most of them are elements seen among my neighbors in Hino, Shiga Prefecture who are in their 80s.
1, They have a garden.
2, They belong to a neighborhood association and have a strong bond with one another: They often chat with one another and are never lonely.
3, They don’t necessarily celebrate all the time since we don’t have a custom of dancing and singing like they do in Okinawa.
4, They have an Ikigai because many of them are both Shintoists and Buddhists, so spirituality plays a big role in their life.
5, They are proud of their tradition and local culture. People in their 70s aren’t anymore but people in their 80s still retain their pride.
6, They are not necessarily passionate about everything they do
7, They help each other
8, They are always busy doing something: They work in the rice field, vegetable field, cut trees in the mountains, fix their house, or play ground golf.
Out of 8 factors, 6 of them are seen in old people in Shiga.
This is interesting because men in Shiga Prefecture was ranked number one in the national longevity ranking in 2017, and we have 692 centenarians.
Nagano Prefecture is another prefecture that is known for living long. It had been ranked number one in this longevity ranking for many years.
If I looked at these 8 factors seen in Ogimi Village in Okinawa, 6 of them are seen in senior citizens in Nagano. I know it because I have lived in Nagano, too.
Those 6 factors are seen in throughout Japanese countryside where people lead Satoyama lifestyle. Okinawans are unique that they have culture of enjoying singing and dancing, as well as having more joyful personality common to people in warmer climate, therefore 3 and 6 are attributes of just Okinawa, but the rest are common throughout Japanese Satoyama.
In Satoyama living, we cut trees in the mountains for firewood or building houses, we work vigorously in the rice field, and the vegetable field, we eat organically and locally grown rice and vegetables, we make fermented foods at home and surround ourselves with effective bacteria, we belong to a neighborhood community to support one another, and we live with a sense of life purpose as being a Shintoist and Buddhist.
Having said that these elements are the things of the past and Satoyama has changed in the last 50 years. Another word, Japan has lost our secret.
Good news is that there is a new movement taking place in Satoyama by young people who have moved in from cities, and Satoyama lifestyle I am sharing is this new lifestyle because these young people are not only preserving the Japanese secret, they are upgrading it, from the secret to health and longevity to the secret to health, longevity, and happiness.
What is significant about Satoyama near lake Biwa is that this new Satoyama movement is especially active in Shiga Prefecture.
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