Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 969–983 | Cite as

Wishing for Change in Japan and Canada

  • Romin W. Tafarodi
  • Yasunori Nishikawa
  • Greg Bonn
  • Hiroaki Morio
  • Ai Fukuzawa
  • Joo Lee
Research Paper


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 



This research was supported by a Standard Research Grant (410-2006-1127) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to the first author. We thank Glenn Davis for his assistance with coding.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romin W. Tafarodi
    • 1
  • Yasunori Nishikawa
    • 1
  • Greg Bonn
    • 1
  • Hiroaki Morio
    • 2
    • 4
  • Ai Fukuzawa
    • 3
  • Joo Lee
    • 3
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Sapporo UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of InformaticsKansai UniversitySuitaJapan

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