Journal of Happiness Studies

, 7:311 | Cite as

Convergence of Character Strengths in American and Japanese Young Adults

  • Satoshi Shimai
  • Keiko Otake
  • Nansook Park
  • Christopher Peterson
  • Martin E. P. Seligman


We investigated cultural influences on the distribution of character strengths, gender differences in character strengths, and the relationship of happiness to character strengths. Young adults from the United States (n=1099) and Japan (n=308) completed the English or Japanese versions of the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths. American and Japanese showed similar distributions of the 24 strengths measured: Higher strengths included love, humor and kindness, and lesser strengths included prudence, self-regulation, and modesty. Gender differences across cultures were also similar: Females were more likely than males to report strengths of love and kindness, whereas males were more likely to report bravery and creativity. In both samples, associations with happiness were found for zest, hope, curiosity and gratitude. The present study is a first step in an international study of character strengths, and we discuss the ubiquity and variation of character across culture.


character culture happiness 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satoshi Shimai
    • 1
  • Keiko Otake
    • 2
  • Nansook Park
    • 3
  • Christopher Peterson
    • 4
  • Martin E. P. Seligman
    • 5
  1. 1.Kobe CollegeJapan
  2. 2.Tpohoku Gakuin UniversitySendai-CityJapan
  3. 3.University of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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