This essay explains how John Rawls’ philosophy has been received in Japan, especially in relation to Japanese culture, politics, and economy. It discusses the reason why, in the 1970s, Rawls’ works were first introduced into Japan not by ethicists and philosophers but rather by economists and jurists. From the 1980s, however, although Rawls’ thought has been mostly ignored by the general public, academics have become more interested in his ideas. In the 2000s, Japan entered a prolonged economic slump, and the resulting tension in society could direct public attention to the theories of justice and Rawls’ philosophy. Finally, future research on Rawls’ philosophy in Japan is proposed.