Voluntary settlement is linked to the ethos of independence. However, it is unclear whether initial cultural contexts in frontier areas influence this ethos. The present study focused on Hokkaido, a Japanese island with a history of voluntary settlement, and predicted that while the predominant mainland-Japanese ethos of interdependence is prevalent in Hokkaido, the idea of independence fostered by settlement emerges mainly in the normative beliefs of people living there. The study examined the degree of interdependence measured by attention to vocal affect. Participants listened to emotional utterances and judged the verbal meaning while ignoring the vocal affect. During the process, about half of the participants were presented with schematic faces that activate normative beliefs. Overall, Japanese were more sensitive to vocal affect than were North Americans. Nevertheless, consistent with the prediction, the interference effect in the face condition was less in both North Americans and Hokkaido-born Hokkaido Japanese than in mainland Japanese.