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CJS Thursday Lecture Series | The Japanese Way of Well-being and the Self: An Examination of Local and Working Communities

Yukiko Uchida, Professor of Cultural and Social Psychology, Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University, Japan
Thursday, April 7, 2022
7:00-8:30 PM
Off Campus Location
Please note that the start time is 7pm, Ann Arbor time.

Recently, cultural analysis has focused on dynamics within groups, such as regional areas where socio-ecological functions are shared, and workplaces where common goals are pursued. Those groups provide both independence-oriented goals to fulfil individuals' need for control and interdependence-oriented goals to maintain social harmony and cooperation. Especially in Japan, where group-level interdependence has traditionally been valued, these two orientations are sometimes in conflict due to individuals' increasing independence as a result of globalization. Using a series of organizational data from Japan, we found that individuals, having to undergo fair evaluation systems and competition, do not explicitly feel advantaged by interdependence. Nonetheless, interdependence still provides positive outcomes, such as improved physical health and resilience to risk (e.g., flexibility under the COVID-19 pandemic). This means that interdependent cultural values (e.g., social capital within a group, family-like social ties) function as a social infrastructure for well-being in Japan. This presentation will also focus on the similarities in cultural values (e.g., low mobility, group activity orientation, concern for reputation by others) between the workplace and local farming areas. The implications of this way of being, such as seeking happiness and health, will be discussed.

Yukiko Uchida is Professor of Cultural and Social Psychology at the Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University. Upon receiving her PhD in social psychology from Kyoto University in 2003, she started her academic career as a visiting researcher at the University of Michigan and Stanford University. Since 2008, she has been based at the Kokoro Research Center. As a cultural psychologist, she studies the psychological mechanisms behind the experience of emotions like wellbeing. She is a 2019-2020 Berggruen fellow at CASBS at Stanford University.

A former member of the Cabinet Office of Japan’s Commission on Measuring Wellbeing, Prof. Uchida’s research focuses on cultural variations in emotion and social relationships, the role of practices and meanings in constructing psychological functions and self-systems, the meanings of happiness and unhappiness, emotion, empathy, emotional support, and effect of each on social relationships.

Learn more about her work at

Zoom registration at:

This colloquium series is made possible by the generous support of the U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant.

This event is cosponsored by the U-M Department of Psychology.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Livestream / Virtual
Tags: Asia, Japan, Japanese Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Japanese Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures, Department of Psychology