Drawing on Karin Bijsterveld’s triple definition of noise as ownership, political responsibility, and causal responsibility, this article traces how modern Japan problematized noise, and how noise represented both the aspirational discourse of Western civilization and the experiential nuisance accompanying rapid changes in living conditions in 1920s Japan. Primarily based on newspaper archives, the analysis will approach the problematic of noise as it was manifested in different ways in the public and private realms. In the public realm, the mid-1920s marked a turning point due to the reconstruction work after the Great Kantô Earthquake (1923) and the spread of the use of radios, phonographs, and loudspeakers. Within a few years, public opinion against noise had been formed by a coalition of journalists, police, the judiciary, engineers, academics, and municipal officials. This section will also address the legal regulation of noise and its failure; because public opinion was “owned” by middle-class (sub)urbanites, factory noises in downtown areas were hardly included in noise abatement discourse. Around 1930, the sounds of radios became a social problem, but the police and the courts hesitated to intervene in a “private” conflict, partly because they valued radio as a tool for encouraging nationalist mobilization and transmitting announcements from above. In sum, this article investigates the diverse contexts in which noise was perceived and interpreted as such, as noise became an integral part of modern life in early 20th-century Japan.