The purpose of this study was to investigate dental fear in a sample of Japanese adults and to make preliminary comparisons with a previously described US sample. The survey instrument was translated into Japanese and then translated back into English and was sent to 839 Japanese residing in the Seattle area. A total of 419 (49.9%) usable questionnaires were returned. Results indicate a level of fear higher than the US population (only 17.9% were not at all afraid). Fear level did not vary by age; most respondents (73.3%) acquired their fear in early childhood. While reported utilization was lower than the American sample, the percentage of Japanese respondents who reported being hurt at the last appointment was high (68.0%). Japanese respondents indicated that 35% of dentists appeared to be in a hurry, hurry being associated with being hurt. Japanese coping practices appeared to differ from the American sample. For example, 14.7% of the Japanese whereas 28.2% of the US sample requested the dentist to stop treatment.