The Concept of Shinyuu in Japan: A Replication of and Comparison to Cole and Bradac's Study on U.S.Friendship

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Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

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Using data collected from a total of 513 Japanese college students, this study explored relational satisfaction with shinyuu (best/close friends) in Japan and provided a cross-cultural comparison to the series of studies conducted by Cole and Bradac (1996). Study 1 identified 39 words and phrases related to satisfaction with shinyuu. In Study 2, participants sorted these 39 words and phrases into groups. A multi-dimensional scaling analysis was used to identify three underlying dimensions: (1) light-hearted-solidarity versus serious-rational, (2) acceptance-reliability versus independent-positive, and (3) frank-supportive versus modest-self-controlled. These dimensions appear to align themselves on a continuum with interpersonal quality on one end and social quality on the other. Study 3 supported our interpretation of the first two dimensions and moderately supported the last dimension. Finally, Study 4 demonstrated that two of the dimensions are similar to dimensions identified in Cole and Bradac's (1996) study. The third dimension, frank-supportive versus modest-self-controlled, was not found in Cole and Bradac's study, whereas the first dimension of their study, spontaneous-active versus stable-passive, was not found in the Japanese data. These differences are discussed in terms of cultural differences in individualism-collectivism and uncertainty avoidance between the U.S. and Japan.


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