Book Title

Ikigai: Towards a psychological understanding of a life worth living

Editor: Yasuhiro Kotera, Ph.D. and Dean Fido, Ph.D.

Author Biographies:

Dr. Yasuhiro Kotera is Academic Lead in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Derby, Online Learning. He is currently working on intervention studies and cross-cultural studies to see the effects of those variables on mental health (e.g., self-compassion intervention for bereaved family members of cancer patients). His cross-cultural interests are aided by his language ability as he speaks Japanese (native) English, Dutch and Mandarin. As a father of triplets, he is also exploring the experience of triplets’ parents cross-culturally.


Dr. Dean Fido is the Master’s Lead for the Forensic Psychology programme taught at the University of Derby (UK). Dean’s expertise bridges the areas of public perceptions of crime, mental health and wellbeing, and image-based sexual abuse (e.g., ‘revenge pornography’, and upskirting). These areas of interest form the basis of several international and applied projects with the aim of bringing about positive change for service users and staff. Because of this, Dean ensures that his research outputs can be understood and accessed by the general population and those they best serve.



Mr. Nicholas Kemp is a father, husband, ikigai coach, Japanologist and solopreneur, having operated several educational and marketing businesses over the past two decades.

Having lived in Japan for 10 years, Nick developed a deep fascination for and appreciation of Japanese culture.

“I have had a love affair with Japan ever since I first visited the country at the age of five. Some 45 years later my relationship with Japan has never been more intimate. The older I get, the more I seem to discover how unique, beautiful and wise the culture and people of Japan are.”

He is the founder and head coach of Ikigai Tribe, a small community of ikigai coaches; teachers, psychologists, business coaches, empowerment coaches, university professors and trainers who serve their personal community using the ikigai concept.”



Dr. Katy Chamberlain is a volcanologist and geochemist at the University of Derby, UK. Her research looks at where and how magma evolves in the crust prior to a volcanic eruption. This research has led her all over the world, including a 9-month postdoctoral fellowship at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) where she developed an interest in Japanese culture and style of living.



Dr. Gulcan Garip is the Academic Lead for the MSc Psychology programme at the University of Derby, a health psychologist, registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and chartered psychologist with the British Psychological Society. Her research interests include the use of psychological (e.g., finding meaning, ikigai) and behavioural strategies for improving quality of life, the influence of laughter on wellbeing, and interventions for carers of people living with long-term conditions.


Dr. Greta Kaluzeviciute is a qualitative psychotherapy researcher, currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge. She is also an Associate Academic in Counselling and Psychotherapy, University of Derby. Greta’s work focuses on clinical and systematic case study narratives, the role and function of empathy in psychotherapy, mental wellbeing, self-compassion and psychological interventions, and determinants of poor/impaired mental health experiences. Greta is particularly passionate about drawing in findings from both research and practice in the clinical fields.



Dr. Claude-Hélène Mayer is a full professor in Industrial and Organisational Psychology at the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is further an adjunct professor (Privatdozentin) at the Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. Her research areas include the Fourth Industrial Revolution, mental health and well-being in diverse settings, intercultural conflict management and mediation, women in leadership, shame and psychobiography. She primarily uses positive psychology, systems psychodynamic and eco-existential perspectives.



Dr. Kirsten McEwan is a Senior Research Fellow in health, psychology, and social care. Dr. McEwan has worked in Clinical Trials, NHS, and University settings, collaborating on over 60 published projects. She has 18 years experience of in evaluating compassion, nature connection and Forest Bathing wellbeing interventions. She is also a Forest Bathing practitioner and loves spending time outdoors.


Dr. Pninit Russo-Netzer is a senior lecturer and the head of the Education Department at Achva Academic College. Her main research and practise interests focus on meaning in life, positive psychology, existential psychology, spirituality, positive change and growth. Dr. Russo-Netzer is the founder and head of the ‘Compass’ Institute for the Study and Application of Meaning in life, and the head of the Academic Training Program for Logotherapy (meaning-oriented psychotherapy) at Tel-Aviv University. She develops training and intervention programs on these topics, serves as an academic advisor and consultant to academic and non-academic institutions, and the co-developer and co-instructor of the Mindfulness-Based Meaning Program (MBMP). She has published scholarly journal articles on these topics, and is the co-editor of the book Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology (Springer NY), Clinical Perspectives of Meaning (Springer NY), and Finding Meaning: An Existential Quest in Post-Modern Israel (Oxford University Press).



Ms. Nichola Snape is an MSc Forensic Psychology student studying at the University of Derby. Just starting out in the field, this is her first publication. Her time is divided between academic study and voluntary work, for organizations such as Lincolnshire Action Trust, Safer Living Foundation and the Citizens Advice Service, creating a strong foundation of both practical and theoretical knowledge on which to build a future career as a forensic psychologist. She is inspired by professionals in the field, such as Dr. Dean Fido, Professor David Wilson and Professor Elizabeth Yardley.



Dr. Elisabeth Vanderheiden is a pedagogue, theologian, intercultural mediator. She is the CEO of the Global Institute for Transcultural Research and the President of the Catholic Adult Education of Germany. Her latest publications focused on shame as a resource as well as mistakes, errors and failure and their hidden potentials in the context of culture and positive psychology 1.0 and 2.0. In a current project, she investigates life crises and their individual coping strategies from different cultural viewpoints. Other current research interests focus on Ikigai – especially in the context of adult education and counselling.