Menopause, according to contemporary American and European understanding, signifies the end of menstruation, a universal experience among human females. This definition of menopause is recent in origin, and is not one which is widely accepted, comparatively speaking. Research has shown that meanings and subjective experience, including symptoms, associated with menopause vary cross-culturally. Menopause may not be recognized as a concept, or alternatively is not closely associated with the end of menstruation, nor is it usually considered a difficult time. This anthropological research is briefly summarized followed by a discussion of the results of survey research conducted in Japan, comparable with Canadian and American surveys. Symptom reporting in Japan among a nonclinical, naturally menopausal population is significantly lower and different from the North American samples. In addition Japanese women have a longer life-expectancy and lower rates of heart disease, osteoporosis, and breast cancer than do North American women. These findings will be contextualized in light of cultural differences with respect to diet, exercise, and attitudes towards this part of the female life cycle. The significance of these findings are considered with respect to research questions to be posed in the future.