OBJECTIVES: Previous studies have indicated that good human relationships contribute significantly to subjective well-being. We recently focused on two important ways of developing good interpersonal relationships: positive empathy, which focuses on the happiness of other people, and trait forgivingness, a tendency to forgive others. We novelly conducted an exploratory genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify candidate gene polymorphisms associated with positive empathy and trait forgivingness among the Japanese. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We for the first time identified several genetic polymorphisms associated with positive empathy and trait forgivingness through the GWAS based on a small sample population and relatively low threshold. We subsequently validated three genetic polymorphisms from these candidate genes using a real-time polymerase chain reaction system. RESULTS: The results demonstrated that polymorphism in the vomeronasal type-1 receptor 1 (VN1R1) (rs61744949), a putative human pheromone receptor, is associated with positive empathy. In addition, genetic polymorphisms in the 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) receptor 7 (HTR7: rs77843021) and tyrosine 3-monooxygenase/tryptophan 5-monooxygenase activation protein, epsilon (YWHAE: rs9908013), which are associated with dopamine and serotonin biosynthesis, are associated with trait forgivingness. CONCLUSION: This study novelly illustrated the influence of the genetic polymorphism in VN1R1 on positive empathy and that of genetic polymorphisms in HTR7 and YWHAE on trait forgivingness. It identified a relationship between previously unreported genetic polymorphisms and the necessary abilities for developing good human relationships. This will significantly impact future research on positive psychology and social psychology.