When one examines Japan's immense and complex history, it's easy to see why the culture of the island nation is so unique and unlike that of any other country on Earth. Thousands of years of tradition were flipped upside down in 1853 when Commodore Perry arrived in Tokyo Bay and forced Japan to open itself to the world again for the first time in centuries. The subsequent Meiji Restoration catapulted Japan to the tier of being a major world power, and Western culture mingled with ancient tradition to create a modernized and innovative society that remained ethnically and culturally homogenous, a large contrast to the also rapidly growing United States.
The effects of the American Occupation following WWII were also unprecedented. Japan now sits in a peculiar position, where it still sits at the will of the US Military, is governed by a Constitution written by foreigners, and has experienced explosive growth (and subsequent stagnation) in its economy. No other country in the world faces the same set of unique challenges as Japan, because no other country has the same history as Japan does.
Tradition and modernity in Japan have successfully mingled for centuries, but now the nation must decide how much to prioritize each over the other. It is traditional for women to stay at home and tend to their families, but in 2017, the economy's growth depends on women working in high-paying jobs. Historical emphasis on honor and loyalty to one's firm have caused Japanese people to be some of the most overworked employees in the world, leading to health and social issues for the population. An aging population leaves a gap in the workforce, but allowing immigrants to come work in the country would contradict the ethnic homogeneity Japan has had for thousands of years. This constant back and forth is what is so interesting about Japanese history to me.
The nation is at a crossroads once again, which is one it has faced before; the question of how much to isolate and maintain tradition or to socially progress with the rest of the world comes back into play. This has caused a resurgence in Japanese nationalism not seen since the 1930s. What will happen to Japan is uncertain, but it will certainly be, once again, unprecedented.