From the emergence of a court-centered state 1500 years ago to a warrior-dominated society centuries later, Japan's premodern past fascinates people around the world. The people, institutions, and ideas behind these traditions—and the close connection of developments in Japan to those in Asia—are the focus of the first half of the course. The second half of the course turns to Japan's modern era and one of the more striking transformations in world history. We examine the tumultuous changes that occurred in a constant global dialogue from the mid-1880s through the present and explore how people in Japan have dealt with the dilemmas of modernity that challenge us all. The recorded lectures are from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences course Societies of the World 13.