The process of modernization in Western Europe spanned hundreds of years, from its nascent origins in the Renaissance, through the Enlightenment, into the twentieth century. In Japan this same process was collapsed into a few short decades around the turn of the nineteenth century. We will examine the shift from a premodern to a modern system of subjectivity and perspective in language, literature, and the performing arts. We will ask: What was the impact of Western imperialism, science, art, gender and sexual politics on Japanese language, literature and film? What were the internal conditions that made Japan ready for modernization? How did premodern conventions create a modernity in Japan different from Western models? What resisted modernization, and why? Our texts will include literature The Miner (Sôseki), In Praise of Shadows (Tanizaki), Ankoku butô dance, and secondary sources on history, language, and society, including Karatani, Origins of Modern Japanese Literature .