I know that kaizen means improvement in Japanese, and although it's mainly used for work / business improvement, I understood its not restricted mainly for business.

From a basic Google translate, looks like Jiko means self. I don't know about Japanese, but the logic of other languages tells me that Jiko Kaizen would mean self improvement.

Is it true?


2 Answers 2


Yes, 自己改善 (じこかいぜん in hiragana, jiko kaizen in romaji) is a valid literal translation. But if you mean self-improvement suggested by books like this or this, the better-known word for this concept is 自己啓発 (じこけいはつ in hiragana, jiko keihatsu in romaji).

  • Is 改善 a valid choice to express progress in a skill? For instance, would 私は日本語が改善した be correct? And what about 上達, 進行, or simply 進む?
    – Right leg
    Jun 4, 2019 at 18:41
  • 1
    @Rightleg 改善 is not wrong, but it may sound like your initial skill was bad. 上達 is much better. 進行/進む makes no sense.
    – naruto
    Jun 4, 2019 at 18:43
  • @Naruto is 自己啓発 (じこけいはつ) the word that would be used to title, say, a section in a bookstore for those kinds of books? Jun 6, 2019 at 1:25
  • @squidlydeux It's a word people use to collectively refer to those kinds of books. Here's a corresponding Wikipedia article. As far as I know, the titles of those books don't usually have 自己啓発 (or similar) explicitly.
    – naruto
    Jun 6, 2019 at 1:35

Maybe more about self-development, but maybe 成長(せいちょう)

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