What is real happiness--"Gross National Happiness" in Bhutan

Bhutan is a kingdom located in the Himalayan mountains. After 1971, when the isolation policy ended, the limited number of immigrants and people in Bhutan kept their traditional way of life.

In November, Shin-ichi Tsuji, a promoter of Candle Night, held an event to introduce Bhutan to Japanese people.

Bhutan uses "Gross National Happiness" (GNH) as an indicator to show the affluence of a country, instead of GDP and GNP.

"Western people and Japanese people can manufacture a quality watch, but they don't have the time to use it. People in Bhutan don't have the technology to produce a quality watch, but they have plenty time to use it. They can wait for a bus for three days, if they missed theirs.

When I hear the story, I come to realize that Candle Night should be measured by GNH, not by GNP, an economic indicator.

(Kin Yuka, the Candle Night Committee)

December 22, 2006