Naikan - Introspection
  1. What have I received from a specific person?
  2. What have I given, what have I done for this person?
  3. What troubles and difficulties have I caused this person?
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Origin of Naikan


Ishin Yoshimoto (1916-1988) developed the Naikan method in the 1940s in Japan. It was his wish that people would find deep insight.

Religious roots

Ishin Yoshimoto was deeply religious and adherent of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. On his spiritual path he mastered Buddhist teachings and at age twentyone he attempted a very demanding Shin Buddhist practice called mishirabe. Mishirabe requires going for several days without food, water or sleep, until one either achieves enlightenment or gives up. Mr. Yoshimoto's first attempts failed, but in 1937 on his fourth attempt he suceeded in achieving enlightenment. He felt a strong urge to make such introspection available to others. Realizing that mishirabe in its original form would be too difficult for most people, he developed Naikan as a method that could be more widely experienced. In contrary to mishirabe Naikan allows you to eat, drink and sleep. Another change was to create a non-religious method.

Business influences

Mr. Yoshimoto started up a leather company which was very successful. His experiences as a businessman also influenced the development of Naikan. The balance of income and outgoings is crucial for a company. The principle of income and outgoings also applies to human relationships, which led to the first two questions of Naikan: 1. What have I received from this person? 2. What have I given to this person? Unfortunately there is no information about how Mr. Yoshimoto developed the third question of Naikan. Maybe it was also inspired by his business experience. To find weak points and malfunctions is a management task. Maybe there is a correlation to the third question of Naikan: What troubles and difficulties have I caused?

Spread of Naikan

Mr. Yoshimoto introduced Naikan to his employees. In 1955 Naikan practice started in Japanese prisons. Ishin Yoshimoto directed a Naikan center in Nara together with his wife Kinuko Yoshimoto. In the early 1970s various Naikan centers in Japan opened. In the late 1970s Naikan was introduced to Europe. Especially Prof. Akira Ishii has introduced the Naikan method to many countries all over the world.


Naikan - a wonderful journey into your inner self!

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