According to terror management theory (TMT), people respond to a reminder of their inevitable death (mortality salience, MS) by defending their cultural worldview (MS hypothesis). Although the MS hypothesis has been supported in numerous studies conducted in Western cultures, it is not always supported in interdependent cultures such as Japan. Considering that TMT argues that self-esteem can also buffer death anxiety and moderate the effect of MS, careful examination of this effect is also needed. The present study examined whether such moderating effect of self-esteem would be found among Japanese through three studies. Results revealed that the moderating effect of self-esteem on the relationship between MS and worldview defense was not found. The results suggest that self-esteem does not function as a death anxiety buff er in Japan.