Australian and Japanese university students responded to hypothetical scenarios in which either a high or an average achieving student or golfer either maintained or failed to maintain their initial performance status. It was predicted that subjects in both cultures would feel relatively more pleased when the high achiever rather than the average achiever suffered a fall when compared with differences in the maintain condition (a tall poppy effect). This prediction was not supported, but results did indicate that the Japanese students saw the high achiever as relatively more assertive than the average achiever when compared with the Australian students, and that they also reacted more negatively in various ways when the stimulus person suffered a fall. Initially, the high achiever was envied more than the average achiever, and the difference was greater for the stimulus person who was a student, implying a relevance effect However, the golfer was especially favoured by the Japanese students. Results were discussed in relation to cross-cultural differences and the need to provide contextual information in hypothetical scenarios when investigating reactions to the success and failure of high and average achievers.