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This paper endeavors to sorb out the behavioral and psychological implications of tradition and modernity as they occur in any country, and to examine their particular nature in Japan. The first section defines and contrasts the concepts of social structure and culture. The second section is a review of the literature of the last 100 years on Japanese national character in an attempt to summarize the characteristics of the Japanese people that seem to have persisted in the past and to have remained viable in modern Japan. The third section attempts to give these characteristics some historical depth, to view them both in terms of the author's own research and in terms of the swirl of changes that are generally recognized to have occurred recently in Japan.