This chapter presupposes that the word ‘global’ contains at least two meanings: first, simply another word for world-wide; second, something new which has been rapidly created by new historical forces. The purpose here is to elucidate the world-wide meaning (the global meaning in the former sense) of non-global Japan. In other words, this chapter aims to examine the basic features of modern Japan from the perspective of world history, although at the end it will touch on the meaning of global Japan, in which case ‘global’ will be used in the latter sense. Its main focus is on the basic features of modern Japanese foreign policy from the Meiji Restoration of 1868 to the present time. Given the long time-span covered, for heuristic purposes the history of modern Japan will be divided into the following five periods:

1 The period of building modern Japan: from the Meiji Restoration to the beginning of the twentieth century (the end of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5).