Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 969–983

Wishing for Change in Japan and Canada


    • University of Toronto
  • Yasunori Nishikawa
    • University of Toronto
  • Greg Bonn
    • University of Toronto
  • Hiroaki Morio
    • Sapporo University
    • Faculty of InformaticsKansai University
  • Ai Fukuzawa
    • University of Tokyo
  • Joo Lee
    • University of Tokyo
Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-011-9299-x

Cite this article as:
Tafarodi, R.W., Nishikawa, Y., Bonn, G. et al. J Happiness Stud (2012) 13: 969. doi:10.1007/s10902-011-9299-x


Japanese and Canadian university students were compared on the changes they wanted in their lives. Contrary to their characterization as self-effacingly relational and group-minded, Japanese were no more likely than Canadians to wish for social or collective goods. Rather, Japanese were more likely than Canadians to wish for money or material goods, and less likely than Canadians to wish for better family relations, increased self-understanding, and improved academic performance. Whether these findings reflect dissimilar cultural priorities, unequal opportunities and constraints, or both, is discussed.


Desired changes Wishes Cultural differences

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011