Japanese participants in Study 1 exhibited a self-effacing tendency when no reason for their self-evaluation was provided. However, they exhibited a self-enhancing tendency when they were offered a monetary reward for the correct evaluation. In Study 2, Americans, especially American men, exhibited a self-enhancing tendency whereas Japanese exhibited a self-effacing tendency when no reason for making the evaluation was presented. This cultural difference disappeared when participants were provided with a monetary reward for correctly evaluating their performance level. These results support the view that the modesty observed in self-evaluation among Japanese participants is a ‘default strategy’ to avoid offending others.