This text provides a wide-ranging overview of the development experience of Japan within Pacific Asia and the wider global political system. P W Preston maps Japan's shift into the modern world through a series of breaks in which Japanese polity was embedded within the wider dynamics of political-cultural and geo-economic change in the developing global system. He then charts Japan's particular development experience through four distinct historical phases before exploring the major issues in the study of modern Japan. The book examines the prospects for an increasingly integrated regional bloc in Pacific Asia in relation to the United States and the European Union. A number of underlying themes include the intellectually contested nature of Pacific Asia, the extent to which it is possible to speak of a distinctive model of development, and the implications of Japan's rise to regional and global power for future political and policy analysis. Understanding Modern Japan will be essential reading for all students and researchers seeking a deeper understanding of the contemporary Japan, Pacific Asia and the dynamics of global politics more broadly.