The concept of Moai has been embedded in Japanese culture for hundreds of years. It’s essentially a support group concerning the social, financial and mental health facets of its group members. Unsurprisingly, it is also known to be an essential component to understanding the longevity of Okinawans.

Okinawa is one of the five Blue Zones where people live significantly longer than the average person. Okinawan women are among the longest living on earth, and live an average of eight years longer than American women. Okinawans are assigned to Moai as children, and these social support groups last throughout individuals’ entire lives. Roughly half of Okinawans belong to a Moai and a large number of them are in multiple Moai.

Owaves team members attend a Zoom meeting and make up their own worldwide Moai
Here is our #Moai!! From Australia to London, New York, San Diego and Lisbon

Health Benefits of a Moai

You must be wondering how a support group could have this much of an impact on a person’s lifespan. A Moai creates a sense of trust and transparency among people, as individuals share every aspect of their lives with each other. In an age like ours where social media has taken over our lives and distorted our perception of one’s reality, this kind of transparency is refreshing and essential to increased well-being. Furthermore, members of a Moai convene at least a few times per week, and in some cases, every day, to consistently share their lives and offer each other support.

They never go long without seeing each other, which simultaneously boosts their collective solidarity and individual confidence as they carry out their own lives. In the words of Onkinawan Klazuko Manna, who is 77 years old: “It’s much easier to go through life knowing there is a safety net.” Moreover, research demonstrates that positive social connections make a difference when it comes to your health and happiness: when you are connected to people who live according to similar values, practice the same healthy habits, and share comparable goals, you undergo less stress, are happier, and live longer.

My Moai


The My Moai feed in the Owaves app shows friends and their current activities, such as Breakfast Time

The “My Moai” feature in the Owaves app gives users the ability to look into the daily routines that members of their Moai carry out. As a result, the feature replicates the transparency that physical Moai create, by helping users understand the different unknown facets of the lives of their loved ones. Oftentimes, we make false assumptions about people’s lives from idealistic social posts, but being aware of the intricacies of others’ lifestyles will allow us to have better communication with them and thus prevent judgement in our relationships.


Titles of activities you can plan in the Owaves app, such as Going to the Zoo, flash by with their corresponding emojis


Furthermore, the “My Moai” feature allows users to gain inspiration from each others’ day plans. This propels users to live healthier lives and hold each other accountable for their daily activities. It also lets users see when they share free time in the day, so they can “sync up” to socialize virtually in this era of social distancing, or even work together virtually on projects.

Just as Moai in Okinawa reap a host of benefits from being closely connected socially, the same can be accomplished virtually through My Moai in this socially distanced time. When things improve, your Moai can reconnect in real life. In the meantime, let’s work together and inspire each other to achieve healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives.

Originally published on August 18, 2020

Learn more with these related articles: