The ‘Introduction‘ considers the meaning of modernity and the way that Japan has engaged with it. Modernity was not just something that happened to Japan; instead Japan had to forge itself into the thriving modern nation we know today through industry, toil, bloodshed and creativity. The term ‘modern’ refers to a cluster of related principles, rather than a period. Although many modern characteristics have their roots in the European Enlightenment, the modern condition can be better seen in the various possible responses to a world of capitalist industry. Modernity must remain aware of traditions even as it questions them.