The purpose of this essay is to rethink the meaning of modernity through an examination of Maruyama’s defense of modernity during the “Overcoming of Modernity” Debate in Japan in 1942. I will initially propose that Maruyama
understood the opponents of modernity as ultra-nationalists who were merely defending an ideological justification for Japan’s war. However, Maruyama defined “modern thinking” (kindaiteki shii) in terms of personal autonomy. His understanding of modernity as a mental attitude led to his failure to consider the technological aspect of this debate. After considering the various intellectual positions on this issue, I shall argue that a democratic control of technology must be presupposed in Maruyama’s defense of modernity.