The hypothesis that men in high "strain" occupations have an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease was tested during an 18-year follow-up study from 1965-1983 of a cohort of 8,006 men of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii. There were no significant associations between the incidence of coronary heart disease and the individual job components of high psychologic demands and low job control or for the high strain interaction of these two characteristics. There were, in fact, trends of associations opposite to that predicted by the job strain model which were of borderline significance in multivariate analyses. Stratified analyses by level of acculturation showed similar inverse associations of job strain and coronary heart disease for the more Westernized men and no association for the more traditional men. There were also no significant associations among the various job characteristics and the major risk factors for coronary heart disease in this cohort. The disagreement of these results with those from other studies may be due to methodologic differences of using men whose usual and current occupations were the same in this study compared with using only current occupation in the other studies, the use of different methods of measuring job strain, or the possibility that men in this cohort perceive or react to occupational strain differently.