I should like to share with you some thoughts about modernity and modernization that are drawn from notes I took during a visit in October 1992 to Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan. I report from these notes mainly as a historian and partly as an amateur ethnographer without any special claim to “ethnographic authority.”

On that occasion, some one thousand citizens from the region gathered in Hachinohe to celebrate the 290th anniversary of the birth of Andō Shōeki (1703–62), the provocative eighteenth-century thinker and physician who practiced in this former castletown. I had been invited to give a lecture at a symposium on “Andō Shōeki and Today” and the “sympathetic relationship between community and nature” (Najita 1993).

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