Research Paper

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 969-983

First online:

Wishing for Change in Japan and Canada

  • Romin W. TafarodiAffiliated withUniversity of Toronto Email author 
  • , Yasunori NishikawaAffiliated withUniversity of Toronto
  • , Greg BonnAffiliated withUniversity of Toronto
  • , Hiroaki MorioAffiliated withSapporo UniversityFaculty of Informatics, Kansai University
  • , Ai FukuzawaAffiliated withUniversity of Tokyo
  • , Joo LeeAffiliated withUniversity of Tokyo

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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