In 1915, a bear slew and consumed seven residents of a farming hamlet in Hokkaido, Japan. The circumstances surrounding these killings are laden with semiotic gravitas. A comprehensive analysis of the millennia of historical forces that preceded and begat Japan's modern shift is impractical. Rather it is through the identification of the ideal précis of change, and a Thick Analysis thereof, that I arrive at an understanding of how, and precisely when, Japan crossed modernity's rampart. The attacks perpetrated by, and the hunt and dispatch of, the bear include aspects of separation from the past vis a vis their relationship to religion, the Ainu, and the artifacts of daily life. The bear's presence and anthropophagous propensity relate to the primal human urge to practice arctolatry, and Japanese patterns of relationship between men, land, and animals. So too is the gory nature of the incident analytically valuable insofar as macabre events resonate in the breasts of men. Finally, the presence of a monster indicates, as per Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, an epochal liminality. Thus through a disarticulation of this incident, I arrive at a cogent understanding of what sundered Japan from her past.