What is Naikan?

Naikan is a Japanese word which means “inside looking” or “introspection”. A more poetic translation is “seeing oneself with the mind’s eye”. It is a structured method of self-reflectionthat helps us to understand ourselves, our relationships and the fundamental nature of human existence. Naikan was developed by Yoshimoto Ishin, a devout Buddhist of the Jodo Shinshu sect in Japan. His strong religious spirit led him to practice mishirabe, an arduous and difficult method of meditation. Wishing to make such introspection available to others, he developed Naikan as a method that could be more widely practiced.

The profound impact Naikan had on many individuals resulted in its use in other areas of Japanese society. Today, there are about 40 Naikan centers in Japan and Naikan is used in mental health counseling, addiction treatment, rehabilitation of prisoners, schools, and business. It has also taken root in Europe, with Naikan centers now established in Austria and Germany.

Learn More About Naikan

Read an excerpt from Gregg Krech’s book Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection (2002, Stonebridge Press)
Read Self-Reflection by Gregg Krech >>