5 Japanese Books To Read Before You Start Anything New This Year

Looking for some inspirational books to get you in the mood to embrace everything the new year has coming? Resolutions are made to be broken but practicing some new habits and enjoying some fresh perspectives on life can get you going on the right note. Here are some Japanese books, from philosophy to fiction, to get you in the right frame of mind to begin the new year or anything else you’d like to start anew in 2019.

1. Ikigai by Yukari Mitsuhashi 

If you’re looking to practice mindfulness this new year then this short and inspirational book is perfect for you. Mitsuhashi looks at the ancient-old Japanese concept of ikigai which can help bring focus to your life: “Ikigai is not something you practice but something you find.”

Raised in Tokyo, Mitsuhashi brings the reader case studies and practical advice to help learn some of the secrets to a happy life by focusing on things that bring you joy, learning to appreciate them, and practicing altruistic behaviors. This is an easy way to start the year on a positive note and work on some new habits. The concept has also been popularised in the West with the book Ikigai: A Secret for a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García which provides you with a great next option if you want to learn more about Ikigai after Mitsuhashi’s fantastic introduction. 

2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Born in Tokyo, Marie Kondo has become an international success in the art of tidying and perfecting the art of designer organization. With her new Netflix show that just started this January (and it’s already everyone’s favorite!), there’s no better time to hop on board and declutter your life by getting back to the original work. 

Using her own “KonMari” methods, largely inspired by Japanese philosophies, she encourages the reader to declutter through joy. By only keeping the things that bring you happiness, and blessing and sending away the things that you don’t need any more. You can enjoy an organized minimalist space by starting small – room by room – one category at a time, until your house resembles an Instagram lifestyle page. For those who aren’t ready to declutter (admittedly, as a major hoarder, I struggle with it all), Marie also teaches the Japanese art of furoshiki (gift wrapping) and provides tips for improving your productivity. You’ll find all the tools to start the new year with a fresh perspective and a beautiful living space.

3. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Losing weight or taking up some form of exercise is

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