It is assumed that people seek positive self-regard; that is, they are motivated to possess, enhance, and maintain positive self-views. The cross-cultural generalizability of such motivations was addressed by examining Japanese culture. Anthropological, sociological, and psychological analyses revealed that many elements of Japanese culture are incongruent with such motivations. Moreover, the empirical literature provides scant evidence for a need for positive self-regard among Japanese and indicates that a self-critical focus is more characteristic of Japanese. It is argued that the need for self-regard must be culturally variant because the constructions of self and regard themselves differ across cultures. The need for positive self-regard, as it is currently conceptualized, is not a universal, but rather is rooted in significant aspects of North American culture. Conventional interpretations of positive self-regard are too narrow to encompass the Japanese experience.