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What is ‘Kokoro’? A meaning beyond “heart” or “spirit”

The Japanese Concept of Kokoro

Kokoro is a Japanese word that is often translated as “heart” or “spirit.” However, the concept of kokoro encompasses what a person thinks, feels, and would like to express. It is made of a person’s thoughts and will that drive them forward, the knowledge and experience they have acquired through time, and all their feelings. 

Yet, kokoro is more than the sum of all these elements: it is all these elements at the same time. Each person’s features give their kokoro its own “color” and “shape,” making every human a distinct individual with a unique inner richness. 

A person’s kokoro cannot be seen or touched:it resides in the area of the heart. Hidden in this invisible kokoro, lies a complex patchwork of ideas, concepts, and feelings that cannot be fully accessed from the outside.

One’s kokoro lives in everything he or she creates. The creation can be a material or  conceptual.

The Mission of Kokoro Media

It is impossible to know the kokoro of another person entirely. But by looking at what a person does or makes and by using our imagination, we can gain an idea of this person’s thoughts, feelings, and what they want to express–a glimpse of their kokoro.

At Kokoro Media, we are an editorial team made of long-term foreign residents in Japan and Japanese nationals. We aim to show the world the different facets of the kokoro concept that we have captured from people, objects, and other aspects of Japan.

We hope you enjoy our site and experience a variety of new discoveries!

Kokoro Media Chief Editor

A French resident living in Japan since 2011, I have been passionate about the Japanese culture and language since my high school years. Before working on Kokoro Media, I used to be chief editor of its ancestor website, the web magazine Tadaima Japan, on which I also wrote some articles.

Now chief editor for Kokoro Media, I enjoy interviewing diverse people about their unique ties with Japanese culture, and I am always on the lookout for inspiring and deep personal stories. My curiosity often leads me to discover aspects of Japanese culture that are not well known outside of the country, and sometimes by the Japanese themselves.

I feel that every encounter made through Kokoro Media helps me develop a new point of view on Japan and on life in general, and I hope this website will offer you the same experience.

Amélie Geeraert

You can know more about Amélie by reading her interview written by our author Anthony.