2009 Volume 36 Issue 2 Pages 115-147
The objective of this paper is to study the variability of peoples' basic social values as reflected in data from our past surveys on national character. Among other issues, I focus on trust systems in order to explore which aspects of sense of trust are stable and which aspects are variable under longitudinal changes in economic or political conditions. First, I explain peoples' general response tendencies based on our survey on national character, which is a key to the understanding of our survey data in the context of cross-national comparisons. Secondly, I summarize some aspects of people's sense of interpersonal trust from our longitudinal survey of Japanese national character. Thirdly, I present cross-national comparisons of interpersonal and institutional trust as well as some basic social values based on our past surveys, including surveys of seven-countries (Japan, USA and five European countries), the East Asia Values Survey (EAVS) (2002-2005) and the Asia-Pacific Values Survey (APVS) (2004-2008). The results show that East Asian countries have already departed from traditional Confucianism and that people share more common social values beyond the distinction of East and West. Fourthly, I present an overview of data on Japanese immigrants in Brazil, Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast in order to study the interaction between the environment and ethnicity. Fifthly, I provide some comments for our future research.