Japan is in love — with Bhutan, a supposed Shangri-La of a country nestled in the Himalayas, famous for deemphasizing gross domestic product (GDP, the standard measure of well-being) in favor of a more abstract, possibly more human metric known as gross national happiness (GNH).
Everybody loves happiness. Japan, profoundly unhappy, has quite lost its heart to the little kingdom, 97 percent of whose 700,000 people claim, despite an unimpressive GDP, to be happy. The Bhutanese king and queen, visiting Japan last month on their honeymoon, glowed like happiness personified. If the Japanese were infatuated, who can blame them?