World Happiness Report was published recently. In this report, all nations are ranked according to some elements, including GDP per capita and social support.
World Happiness Report
The top of the list is Norway. Northern European countries are listed up in the upper class. The UK is ranked at 19th, and the US is 14th.
Surprisingly, Japan is out of top 20th countries. Furthermore, Japan is ranked at 51st. Japan has the greatest life expectancy and also good GPD per capita. But, it is inferior in the segment of generosity and dystopia.
It seems World Happiness Report is constructed taking a high value on liberty, as well as social security. This sense of value is well matched to Scandinavian countries.
In contrast, many Japanese people are indifferent to the freedom of ideology. Though youths are critical to authorities, elder people are rather conservative and dislike people who are not obeying the local rules of the community. On the other hand, some Japanese tend to distrust the government, while they rely very much on the government in their life. This imbalance is unique, and I guess it is hardly explainable to foreign people.
UK people also seems to have felt shocked to the result. The difference between the UK and Northern European countries is the cost of social security, according to the author of the article below.
International Business Times: Britain is one of the wealthiest countries in the world – so why aren't we happier?
However, the sense of value in people differs from each other. It is extremely difficult to establish the definition of happiness applicable to people in any countries. Even commonly shared values such as life expectancy and liberty are not equally prioritized among countries.
Also, sense of happiness is highly subjective, as well as relative. In my opinion, people feel happy when they expect to become happier in the future. In this sense, I agree with the opinion that people in a developing country look happy, even they are less happy in an objective view.