Osaka

Coordinates: 34°41′38″N 135°30′8″E / 34.69389°N 135.50222°E / 34.69389; 135.50222
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Osaka
大阪市
Sumiyoshi Taisha and Abeno Harukas
- TreeCherry
- FlowerPansy
AddressOsaka City Hall: 1-3-20 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka-fu
530-8201
Phone number06-6208-8181
Websitewww.city.osaka.lg.jp
Osaka
Ōsaka in kanji
Japanese name
Kanji大阪
(obsolete) 大坂
Hiraganaおおさか
Katakanaオオサカ

Osaka (

largest urban area in the world with more than 19 million inhabitants.[3]

Osaka was traditionally considered Japan's economic hub. By the

Taishō
periods. Osaka made noted contributions to redevelopment, urban planning and zoning standards in the postwar period, the city developed rapidly as one of the major financial centers in the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area.

Osaka is a major financial center of Japan, and it is recognized as one of the most

, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan.

Etymology

Ōsaka means "large hill" or "large slope". It is unclear when this name gained prominence over Naniwa, but the oldest written evidence for the name dates back to 1496.[5][6]

By the Edo period, 大坂 (Ōsaka) and 大阪 (Ōsaka) were mixed use, and the writer Hamamatsu Utakuni [ja], in his book Setsuyo Ochiboshu published in 1808, states that the kanji was abhorred because it "returns to the earth," and then was used. The kanji (earth) is also similar to the word (knight), and means against, so can be understood as "samurai rebellion," then was official name in 1868 after the Meiji Restoration. The older kanji (坂) is still in very limited use, usually only in historical contexts. As an abbreviation, the modern kanji han refers to Osaka City or Osaka Prefecture.

History

Origins: Jōmon and Yayoi period

In the Jōmon period (7,000 BCE), Osaka was mostly submerged by the Seto Inland Sea, and the small Uemachi-daichi plateau (12 km long and 2.5 km wide), located in the southern part of the city called Uehonmachi, was a peninsula.[7] The Uehonmachi area consisted of a peninsula with an inland sea (Seto Inland Sea) in the east.[7] It is considered one of the first places where inhabitants of Japan settled, both for the favorable geological conditions, rich in fresh water and lush vegetation, and because it was in a position difficult to attack from a military point of view.[7]

The earliest evidence of settlements in the Osaka area are the Morinomiya ruins (森ノ宮遺跡, Morinomiya iseki) which is located in the central

Jomon and Yayoi period. The findings of the archeological sites are exhibited in an adjacent building.[8][7]

In the years between the end of the Jōmon period and the beginning of the Yayoi period, the sediments that were deposited north of the Uemachi-daichi peninsula / plateau transformed the sea that stretched to the east into a lagoon which was called Kawachi.[9] During the Yayoi period (300 BCE-250 CE), permanent habitation on the plains grew as rice farming became popular.[8]

At the beginning of the third century CE the grand shrine of Sumiyoshi-taisha was inaugurated near the harbor, commissioned by consort Empress Jingū. This Shinto shrine structure survived historical events,[10] which inaugurated a new style in the construction of Shinto shrines, called Sumiyoshi-zukuri.[11] The maritime panorama enjoyed from the shrine gardens inspired several artists, and nowadays the representations of that type of landscape are called Sumiyoshi drawings.

Towards the end of the Yayoi period the Uemachi-daichi plateau-peninsula expanded further, transforming the Kawachi Lagoon (河内湖) into a lake connected to the mouth of the Yodo River, which had widened to the south.[9]

Kofun period

By the Kofun period, Osaka developed into a hub port connecting the region to the western part of Japan. The port of Naniwa-tsu was established and became the most important in Japan.[12] Trade with other areas of the country and the Asian continent intensified.[12] The large numbers of increasingly larger keyhole-shaped Kofun mounds found in the plains of Osaka are evidence of political-power concentration, leading to the formation of a state.[8][13] The findings in the neighboring plains, including the mausoleum of Emperor Nintoku was discovered nearby in Sakai testify to the status of imperial city that Osaka had reached. Four of these mounds can be seen in Osaka, in which important members of the nobility are buried. They are located in the southern districts of the city and date back to the 5th century.[12] A group of megalithic tombs called Mozu Tombs are located in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.[14]

Important works of the Kofun period is the excavation that diverted the course of the Yamato River, whose floods caused extensive damage, and the construction of important roads in the direction of Sakai and Nara.[8][15] Maritime traffic connected to the port of Naniwa-tsu increased in such a way that huge warehouses were built to stow material arriving and departing.[8]

  • Gallery
  • Ancient shells found in the Morinomiya kaizuka (Jomon period)
    Ancient shells found in the Morinomiya kaizuka (Jomon period)

Asuka and Nara period

The Kojiki records that during 390–430 AD, there was an imperial palace located at Osumi, in what is present day Higashiyodogawa ward, but it may have been a secondary imperial residence rather than a capital.[16]

In 645, Emperor Kōtoku built his Naniwa Nagara-Toyosaki Palace in what is now Osaka,[17] making it the capital of Japan. The city now known as Osaka was at this time referred to as Naniwa, and this name and derivations of it are still in use for districts in central Osaka such as Naniwa (浪速) and Namba (難波).[a] Although the capital was moved to Asuka (in Nara Prefecture today) in 655, Naniwa remained a vital connection, by land and sea, between Yamato (modern day Nara Prefecture), Korea, and China.[8][18]

Naniwa was declared the capital again in 744 by order of

Buddhist temple in Japan.[20]

Heian to Edo period

In 1496, Jōdo Shinshū Buddhists established their headquarters in the heavily fortified Ishiyama Hongan-ji, located directly on the site of the old Naniwa Imperial Palace. Oda Nobunaga began a decade-long siege campaign on the temple in 1570 which ultimately resulted in the surrender of the monks and subsequent razing of the temple. Toyotomi Hideyoshi constructed Osaka Castle in its place in 1583.[21] Osaka Castle played a pivotal role in the Siege of Osaka (1614–1615).

Osaka was long considered Japan's primary economic center,

Dōjima, where the Rice Exchange was established in 1697 and where the world's first futures market would come to exist to sell rice that was not yet harvested.[23]

The popular culture of Osaka

Bakufu at the same time as Hyogo Town (modern Kobe) on January 1, 1868, just before the advent of the Boshin War and the Meiji Restoration.[27] The Kawaguchi foreign settlement
, now the Kawaguchi subdistrict, is a legacy of the foreign presence in Osaka.

Osaka residents were stereotyped in Edo literature from at least the 18th century. Jippensha Ikku in 1802 depicted Osakans as stingy almost beyond belief. In 1809, the derogatory term "Kamigata zeeroku" was used by Edo residents to characterize inhabitants of the Osaka region in terms of calculation, shrewdness, lack of civic spirit, and the vulgarity of Osaka dialect. Edo writers aspired to samurai culture, and saw themselves as poor but generous, chaste, and public spirited. Edo writers by contrast saw "zeeroku" as obsequious apprentices, stingy, greedy, gluttonous, and lewd. To some degree, Osaka residents are still stigmatized by Tokyo observers in the same way today, especially in terms of gluttony, evidenced in the phrase, "Residents of Osaka devour their food until they collapse" (大阪は食倒れ, "Ōsaka wa kuidaore").[28]

  • Gallery
  • Osaka Castle (first built in 1583)
    Osaka Castle (first built in 1583)
  • The Sumiyoshi-matsuri in the 16th century
    The Sumiyoshi-matsuri in the 16th century
  • Japanese painting of the Siege of Osaka (1615)
    Japanese painting of the Siege of Osaka (1615)
  • Map of Osaka, 1686
    Map of Osaka, 1686
  • Dōjima Rice Exchange ukiyo-e by Yoshimitsu Sasaki
    Dōjima Rice Exchange ukiyo-e by Yoshimitsu Sasaki

Meiji to Heisei period

With the enormous changes that characterized the country after the

government ordinance, with an initial area of 15 square kilometres (6 sq mi), overlapping today's Chuo and Nishi wards. Later, the city went through three major expansions to reach its current size of 223 square kilometres (86 sq mi). Osaka was the industrial center most clearly defined in the development of capitalism in Japan. It became known as the "Manchester and Melbourne of the Orient".[29] In 1925, it was the largest and most populous city in Japan and sixth in the world.[29]

The rapid industrialization attracted many Asian immigrants (Indians, Chinese, and Koreans), who set up a life apart for themselves.[30] The political system was pluralistic, with a strong emphasis on promoting industrialization and modernization.[31] Literacy was high and the educational system expanded rapidly, producing a middle class with a taste for literature and a willingness to support the arts.[32] In 1927, General Motors operated a factory called Osaka Assembly until 1941, manufacturing Chevrolet, Cadillac, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick vehicles, operated and staffed by Japanese workers and managers.[33] In the nearby city of Ikeda in Osaka Prefecture is the headquarters of Daihatsu, one of Japan's oldest automobile manufacturers.

Like its European and American counterparts, Osaka displayed slums, unemployment, and poverty. In Japan it was here that municipal government first introduced a comprehensive system of poverty relief, copied in part from British models. Osaka policymakers stressed the importance of family formation and mutual assistance as the best way to combat poverty. This minimized the cost of welfare programs.[34]

During

Japan's surrender.[35]

In the decades after World War II, the reconstruction plan and the industriousness of its inhabitants ensured Osaka even greater prosperity than it had before the war. Osaka's population regrew to more than three million in the 1960s when large-scale prefectural suburbanization began and doubled to six million by the 1990s. The factories were rebuilt and trade revived, the city were developed rapidly it became a major multicultural and financial center in the postwar period between the 1950s and the 1980s, it is known as the "Chicago and Toronto of the Orient".[This quote needs a citation] Osaka Prefecture was chosen as the venue for the prestigious Expo '70, the first world's fair ever held in an Asian country. Since then, numerous international events have been held in Osaka, including the 1995 APEC Summit.

The modern municipality, which when it was established in 1889 occupied an area of just 15 km2 including the districts of Chūō and Nishi, following three successive expansions has reached an area of 222 km2. It was one of the first cities in Japan to obtain designated city status in 1956.[36]

21st century to present

The plan to reorganize Osaka and its province into a metropolis like Tokyo met with stiff opposition in some municipalities, particularly the highly populated Sakai. He then fell back on a project that included the suppression of the 24 wards of Osaka, thus dividing the city into 5 new special districts with a status similar to that of the 23 Special wards of Tokyo. It was introduced by former mayor Tōru Hashimoto, leader of the reform party Osaka Restoration Association which he founded. The referendum of May 17, 2015 called in Osaka for the approval of this project saw the narrow victory of no, and consequently Hashimoto announced his withdrawal from politics.[37] A second referendum for a merger into 4 semi-autonomous wards was narrowly voted down by 692,996 (50.6%).[38]

According to the Forbes list of The World's Most Expensive Places To Live 2009, Osaka was the second most expensive in the world after Tokyo.[39] By 2020 it slipped to 5th rank of most expensive cities.[40]

On March 7, 2014, the 300-meter tall Abeno Harukas opened, which is the tallest skyscraper in Japan surpassing the Yokohama Landmark Tower in Yokohama, until it was surpassed by the 330-meter tall Azabudai Hills Main Tower in Tokyo since 2022.[41]

  • Gallery
  • Skyscrapers in Umeda district
    Skyscrapers in Umeda district
  • Sennichimae area in 1916
    Sennichimae area in 1916
  • View of Osaka after the bombing in 1945
    View of Osaka after the bombing in 1945
  • Abeno Harukas, second-tallest building in Japan
    Abeno Harukas, second-tallest building in Japan

Geography

Satellite image of Osaka

The city's west side is open to Osaka Bay, and is otherwise completely surrounded by more than ten satellite cities, all of them in Osaka Prefecture, with one exception: the city of Amagasaki, belonging to Hyōgo Prefecture, in the northwest. The city occupies a larger area (about 13%) than any other city or village within Osaka Prefecture. When the city was established in 1889, it occupied roughly the area known today as the Chuo and Nishi wards, only 15.27 square kilometres (6 sq mi) that would eventually grow into today's 222.30 square kilometres (86 sq mi) via incremental expansions, the largest of which being a single 126.01-square-kilometre (49 sq mi) expansion in 1925. Osaka's highest point is 37.5 metres (123.0 ft) Tokyo Peil in Tsurumi-ku, and the lowest point is in Nishiyodogawa-ku at −2.2 metres (−7.2 ft) Tokyo Peil.[42] Osaka has a latitude of 34.67 (near the 35th parallel north), which makes it more southern than Rome (41.90), Madrid (40.41), San Francisco (37.77) and Seoul (37.53).[43]

Climate

Osaka is located in the humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen Cfa), with four distinct seasons. Its winters are generally mild, with January being the coldest month having an average high of 9.7 °C (49 °F). The city rarely sees snowfall during the winter. Spring in Osaka starts off mild, but ends up being hot and humid. It also tends to be Osaka's wettest season, with the tsuyu (梅雨, tsuyu, "plum rain")—the rainy season—occurring between early June and late July. The average starting and ending dates of the rainy season are June 7 and July 21 respectively.[44] Summers are very hot and humid. In August, the hottest month, the average daily high temperature reaches 33.7 °C (93 °F), while average nighttime low temperatures typically hover around 25.8 °C (78 °F). Fall in Osaka sees a cooling trend, with the early part of the season resembling summer while the latter part of fall resembles winter. Precipitation is abundant, with winter being the driest season, while monthly rainfall peaks in June with the "tsuyu" rainy season, which typically ends in mid to late July. From late July through the end of August, summer's heat and humidity peaks, and rainfall decreases somewhat. Osaka experiences a second rainy period in September and early October, when tropical weather systems, including typhoons, coming from the south or southwest are possible.

Climate data for Osaka (1991−2020 normals, extremes 1883−present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 19.1
(66.4)
23.7
(74.7)
24.2
(75.6)
30.7
(87.3)
32.7
(90.9)
36.1
(97.0)
38.4
(101.1)
39.1
(102.4)
36.4
(97.5)
33.1
(91.6)
27.2
(81.0)
24.5
(76.1)
39.1
(102.4)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 9.7
(49.5)
10.5
(50.9)
14.2
(57.6)
19.9
(67.8)
24.9
(76.8)
28.0
(82.4)
31.8
(89.2)
33.7
(92.7)
29.5
(85.1)
23.7
(74.7)
17.8
(64.0)
12.3
(54.1)
21.3
(70.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.2
(43.2)
6.6
(43.9)
9.9
(49.8)
15.2
(59.4)
20.1
(68.2)
23.6
(74.5)
27.7
(81.9)
29.0
(84.2)
25.2
(77.4)
19.5
(67.1)
13.8
(56.8)
8.7
(47.7)
17.1
(62.8)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 3.0
(37.4)
3.2
(37.8)
6.0
(42.8)
10.9
(51.6)
16.0
(60.8)
20.3
(68.5)
24.6
(76.3)
25.8
(78.4)
21.9
(71.4)
16.0
(60.8)
10.2
(50.4)
5.3
(41.5)
13.6
(56.5)
Record low °C (°F) −7.5
(18.5)
−6.5
(20.3)
−5.2
(22.6)
−2.6
(27.3)
3.5
(38.3)
8.9
(48.0)
14.8
(58.6)
13.6
(56.5)
10.4
(50.7)
3.0
(37.4)
−2.2
(28.0)
−4.5
(23.9)
−7.5
(18.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 47.0
(1.85)
60.5
(2.38)
103.1
(4.06)
101.9
(4.01)
136.5
(5.37)
185.1
(7.29)
174.4
(6.87)
113.0
(4.45)
152.8
(6.02)
136.0
(5.35)
72.5
(2.85)
55.5
(2.19)
1,338.3
(52.69)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 0
(0)
1
(0.4)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.4)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.5 mm) 6.4 7.3 10.3 10.0 10.4 12.3 11.3 7.8 10.6 9.2 7.0 7.1 109.7
Average
relative humidity
(%)
61 60 59 58 61 68 70 66 67 65 64 62 63
Mean monthly sunshine hours 146.5 140.6 172.2 192.6 203.7 154.3 184.0 222.4 161.6 166.1 152.6 152.1 2,048.6
Average ultraviolet index 3 4 6 8 9 10 11 10 8 6 3 2 7
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency[45] and Weather Atlas[46]

Cityscape

Osaka's sprawling cityscape has been described as "only surpassed by Tokyo as a showcase of the Japanese urban phenomenon".[47]

  • Central Osaka looking north from the Abeno Harukas observation deck (2014)
    Central Osaka looking north from the Abeno Harukas observation deck (2014)
  • Osaka skyline towards Umeda (2014)
    Osaka skyline towards Umeda (2014)
Osaka skyline at night from Umeda Sky Building (2008)

Neighborhoods

Central Osaka is roughly divided into downtown and uptown areas known as Kita (キタ, "north") and Minami (ミナミ, "south").[48][49]

Kita is home to the Umeda district and its immediate surrounding neighborhoods, a major business and retail hub that plays host to Osaka Station City and a large subterranean network of shopping arcades.[48] Kita and nearby Nakanoshima contain a prominent portion of the city's skyscrapers and are often featured in photographs of Osaka's skyline.

Minami, though meaning "south", is essentially in Chūō Ward (中央区, Chūō-ku) and geographically central within the city.

Abeno Harukas is the tallest skyscraper in the country since 2014.[41]

The business districts between Kita and Minami such as Honmachi [ja] and Yodoyabashi [ja], called Semba (船場), house the regional headquarters of many large-scale banks and corporations. The Midōsuji boulevard runs through Semba and connects Kita and Minami.

Further south of Minami are neighborhoods such as

Abeno Harukas), and the Kamagasaki slums, the largest slum in Japan.[50]

The city's west side is a prominent

Higashiosaka is zoned as a separate city, although the east side of Osaka city proper contains numerous residential neighborhoods including Tsuruhashi KoreaTown, as well as the Osaka Castle Park, Osaka Business Park and the hub Kyōbashi Station
.

Osaka contains numerous urban canals and bridges, many of which serve as the namesake for their surrounding neighbourhoods.[52] The phrase "808 bridges of Naniwa" was an expression in old Japan used to indicate impressiveness and the "uncountable". Osaka numbered roughly 200 bridges by the Edo period[53] and 1,629 bridges by 1925. As many of the city's canals were gradually filled in, the number dropped to 872, of which 760 are currently managed by Osaka City.[52]

List of wards

There are currently 24 wards in Osaka:

Name Kanji Population Land area in km2 Pop. density

per km2

Map of Osaka
1 Abeno-ku 阿倍野区 107,000 5.99 18,440
A map of Osaka's Wards
A map of Osaka's Wards
2 Asahi-ku 旭区 90,854 6.32 14,376
3 Chūō-ku 中央区 100,998 8.87 11,386
4 Fukushima-ku 福島区 78,348 4.67 16,777
5 Higashinari-ku 東成区 83,684 4.54 18,433
6 Higashisumiyoshi-ku 東住吉区 126,704 9.75 12,995
7 Higashiyodogawa-ku 東淀川区 176,943 13.27 13,334
8 Hirano-ku 平野区 193,282 15.28 12,649
9 Ikuno-ku 生野区 129,641 8.37 15,489
10 Jōtō-ku 城東区 167,925 8.38 20,039
11 Kita-ku (administrative center) 北区 136,602 10.34 13,211
12 Konohana-ku 此花区 65,086 19.25 3,381
13 Minato-ku 港区 80,759 7.86 10,275
14 Miyakojima-ku 都島区 107,555 6.08 17,690
15 Naniwa-ku 浪速区 74,992 4.39 17,082
16 Nishi-ku 西区 103,089 5.21 19,787
17 Nishinari-ku 西成区 108,654 7.37 14,743
18 Nishiyodogawa-ku 西淀川区 95,960 14.22 6,748
19 Suminoe-ku 住之江区 120,629 20.61 5,853
20 Sumiyoshi-ku 住吉区 153,425 9.40 16,322
21 Taishō-ku 大正区 62,872 9.43 6,667
22 Tennōji-ku 天王寺区 80,830 4.84 16,700
23 Tsurumi-ku 鶴見区 111,501 8.17 13,648
24 Yodogawa-ku 淀川区 182,254 12.64 14,419

Demographics

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1870271,992—    
1880292,636+7.6%
1890483,609+65.3%
1900881,344+82.2%
19101,239,373+40.6%
19201,798,295+45.1%
19252,135,248+18.7%
19302,477,959+16.1%
19353,022,425+22.0%
19403,300,714+9.2%
19451,614,632−51.1%
19502,015,350+24.8%
19552,547,316+26.4%
19603,011,563+18.2%
19653,156,222+4.8%
19702,980,487−5.6%
19752,778,987−6.8%
19802,648,180−4.7%
19852,636,249−0.5%
19902,623,801−0.5%
19952,602,421−0.8%
20002,598,774−0.1%
20052,628,811+1.2%
20102,666,371+1.4%
20152,691,185+0.9%
20202,752,024+2.3%

Population numbers have been recorded in Osaka since as early as 1873, in the early

Meiji era.[54] According to the census in 2005, there were 2,628,811 residents in Osaka, an increase of 30,037 or 1.2% from 2000.[55] There were 1,280,325 households with approximately 2.1 persons per household. The population density was 11,836 persons per km2. The Great Kantō earthquake caused a mass migration to Osaka between 1920 and 1930, and the city became Japan's largest city in 1930 with 2,453,573 people, outnumbering even Tokyo, which had a population of 2,070,913. The population peaked at 3,252,340 in 1940, and had a post-war peak of 3,156,222 in 1965, but continued to declined since, as the residents moved out to the suburbs.[56]

There were 144,123 registered foreigners, the two largest groups being Korean (60,110) and Chinese (39,551) 2021 years.

Dialect

The commonly spoken dialect of this area is Osaka-ben, a typical sub-dialect of Kansai-ben. Of the many other particularities that characterize Osaka-ben, examples include using the copula ya instead of da, and the suffix -hen instead of -nai in negative verb forms.

Government

Local administration
The Mayor and the Council
Ichiro Matsui
Vice Mayors:Toru Takahashi,
Shin Asakawa,
Tsuyoshi Yamamoto
City Council
President:Toshifumi Tagaya
Komei Party (19),
Japanese Communist Party
(9),
Go OSAKA (1)
Osaka Abe (1)
Seats by districts:
WebsiteOsaka City Council
Note: As of October 27, 2017

The

Local Autonomy Law. The council has eighty-nine seats, allocated to the twenty-four wards proportional to their population and re-elected by the citizens every four years. The council elects its president and Vice President. Toshifumi Tagaya (LDP) is the current and 104th president since May 2008. The mayor of the city is directly elected by the citizens every four years as well, in accordance with the Local Autonomy Law. Tōru Hashimoto, former governor of Osaka Prefecture is the 19th mayor of Osaka since 2011. The mayor is supported by two vice mayors, currently Akira Morishita and Takashi Kashiwagi, who are appointed by him in accordance with the city bylaw.[61]

Osaka also houses several agencies of the Japanese government. Below is a list of governmental offices housed in Osaka.

  • Japan Coast Guard, Fifth Regional Headquarters
  • Japan Fair Trade Commission; Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku Office
  • Kinki Regional Finance Bureau
  • Kinki Regional Economy, Trade and Industry Bureau
  • Kinki Regional Transportation Bureau
  • Kinki Communications Bureau
  • Kinki Regional Development Bureau
  • Kinki Regional Police Bureau
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Osaka Office
  • Osaka Customs
  • Osaka District Court
  • Osaka Family Court
  • Osaka High Court
  • Osaka Immigration
  • Osaka Labour Bureau
  • Osaka Meteorological Observatory
  • Osaka Public Prosecutors Office
  • Osaka Regional Aerospace Bureau
  • Osaka Regional Law Bureau
  • Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau
  • Osaka Summary Court

Developments

In July 2012, a joint multi-party bill was submitted to the Diet that would allow for implementation of the

revenues to the prefectural administration.[62]

In October 2018, the city of Osaka officially ended[63] its sister city relationship with San Francisco in the United States after the latter permitted a monument memorializing "comfort women" to remain on a city-owned property, circulating in the process a 10-page, 3,800-word letter in English addressed to San Francisco mayor London Breed.[64]

On November 1, 2020, a second referendum to merge Osaka's 24 wards into 4 semi-autonomous wards was narrowly voted down. There were 692,996 (50.6%) votes against and 675,829 (49.4%) votes supported it.

Ichiro Matsui said he would resign when his term ends in 2023.[38]

Energy policies

Nuclear power

On February 27, 2012, three Kansai cities, Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe, jointly asked Kansai Electric Power Company to break its dependence on nuclear power. In a letter to KEPCO they also requested to disclose information on the demand and supply of electricity, and for lower and stable prices. The three cities were stockholders of the plant: Osaka owned 9% of the shares, while Kobe had 3% and Kyoto 0.45%. Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, announced a proposal to minimize the dependence on nuclear power for the shareholders meeting in June 2012.[65]

On March 18, 2012, the city of Osaka decided as largest shareholder of Kansai Electric Power Co, that at the next shareholders-meeting in June 2012 it would demand a series of changes:

  • that Kansai Electric would be split into two companies, separating power generation from power transmission.
  • a reduction of the number of the utility's executives and employees.
  • the implementation of absolutely secure measurements to ensuring the safety of the nuclear facilities.
  • the disposing of spent fuel.
  • the installation of new kind of thermal power generation to secure non-nuclear supply of energy.
  • selling all unnecessary assets including the stock holdings of KEPCO.

In this action, Osaka had secured the support of two other cities and shareholders: Kyoto and Kobe, but with their combined voting-rights of 12.5 percent they were not certain of the ultimate outcome, because for this two-thirds of the shareholders would be needed to agree to revise the corporate charter.[66]

At a meeting held on April 10, 2012, by the "energy strategy council", formed by the city of Osaka and the governments of the prefectures, it became clear that at the end of the fiscal year 2011 some 69 employees of Kansai Electric Power Company were former public servants. "

Amakudari
" was the Japanese name for this practice of rewarding by hiring officials that formerly controlled and supervised the firm. Such people included the following:

  • 13 ex-officials of the: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
  • 3 ex-officials of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry,
  • 2 ex-officials of the Ministry of the Environment,
  • 16 former policemen,
  • 10 former fire-fighters,
  • 13 former civil engineers.

Besides this, it became known that Kansai Electric had done about 600 external financial donations, to a total sum of about 1.695 billion yen:

  • 70 donations were paid to local governments: to a total of 699 million yen
  • 100 donations to public-service organizations: 443 million yen,
  • 430 donations to various organizations and foundations: a total of 553 million yen

During this meeting some 8 conditions were compiled, that needed to be fulfilled before a restart of the No.3 and No.4 reactors Oi Nuclear Power Plant:

  • the consent of the local people and government within 100 kilometer from the plant
  • the installation of a new independent regulatory agency
  • a nuclear safety agreement
  • the establishment of new nuclear safety standards
  • stress tests and evaluations based on these new safety rules[67]

Economy

A street in Umeda, Osaka

The gross city product of Osaka in fiscal year 2004 was ¥21.3 trillion, an increase of 1.2% over the previous year. The figure accounts for about 55% of the total output in the Osaka Prefecture and 26.5% in the Kinki region. In 2004, commerce, services, and manufacturing have been the three major industries, accounting for 30%, 26%, and 11% of the total, respectively. The per capita income in the city was about ¥3.3 million, 10% higher than that of the Osaka Prefecture.

MasterCard Worldwide reported that Osaka ranks 19th among the world's leading cities and plays an important role in the global economy.[69] Osaka's GDP per capita (Nominal) was $59,958.($1=\120.13)[70][71] However, by 2020, Osaka ranked as the 5th most expensive city due to flatlining consumer prices and government subsidies of public transportation.[40]

Osaka Exchange in the Kitahama district of Osaka

Historically, Osaka was the center of commerce in Japan, especially in the middle and pre-modern ages. Nomura Securities, the first brokerage firm in Japan, was founded in the city in 1925, and Osaka still houses a leading futures exchange. Many major companies have since moved their main offices to Tokyo. However, several major companies, such as Panasonic, Sharp, and Sanyo, are still headquartered in Osaka. Recently, the city began a program, headed by mayor Junichi Seki, to attract domestic and foreign investment.[72] In the 2017 Global Financial Centres Index, Osaka was ranked as having the 15th most competitive financial center in the world and fifth most competitive in Asia (after Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Shanghai).[73]

The

Osaka Securities Exchange, specializing in derivatives such as Nikkei 225 futures, is based in Osaka. The merger with JASDAQ will help the Osaka Securities Exchange become the largest exchange in Japan for start-up companies.[74]

According to global consulting firm Mercer, Osaka was the second most expensive city for expatriate employees in the world in 2009. It jumped up nine places from 11th place in 2008 and was the eighth most expensive city in 2007. However, it was not ranked in the top ten places of the list in 2013.[75][76] The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Osaka as the second most expensive city in the world in its 2013 Cost of Living study.[77]

Keihanshin

Greater Osaka (without Kyoto) Metropolitan Employment Area
Kobe (green), and Kyoto
(blue)

Osaka is part of the

largest urban area in the world.[3] Keihanshin has a GDP of approximately $953.9 billion in 2012 (16th largest in the world).[78] Osaka-Kobe has a GDP of $681 billion (2015), which is a bit more than Paris or Greater London.[79]

Transportation

Map of Osaka Metro system

Greater Osaka has an extensive network of railway lines, comparable to that of Greater Tokyo. Major stations within the city include Umeda (梅田), Namba (難波), Shinsaibashi (心斎橋), Tennōji (天王寺), Kyōbashi (京橋), and Yodoyabashi (淀屋橋).

Osaka connects to its surrounding cities and suburbs via the

.

The Osaka Metro system alone ranks 8th in the world by annual passenger ridership, serving over 912 million people annually (a quarter of Greater Osaka Rail System's 4 billion annual riders), despite being only 8 of more than 70 lines in the metro area.

All Shinkansen trains including Nozomi stop at Shin-Osaka Station and provide access to other major cities in Japan, such as Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama, and Tokyo.

Regular bus services are provided by Osaka City Bus, as well Hankyu, Hanshin and Kintetsu, providing a dense network covering most parts of the city.

Osaka is served by two airports situated just outside of the city,

IATA
: ITM) which handles mostly domestic services and some international cargo flights.

Due to its geographical position, Osaka's international ferry connections are far greater than that of Tokyo, with international service to Shanghai, Tianjin,

Okinawa
.

Culture and lifestyle

A chef prepares for the evening rush in Umeda.
Glico Man among numerous signboards at Dōtonbori
Grand Front Osaka
Chayamachi district in Kita-ku
Amerikamura in Chuo-ku
Nipponbashi in Naniwa-ku

Shopping and food

Osaka has a large number of wholesalers and retail shops: 25,228 and 34,707 respectively in 2004, according to the city statistics.

Tenmangū shrine
and continues for 2.6 km (1.6 miles) going north to south. The stores along the arcade include commodities, clothing, and catering outlets.

Other shopping areas include Den Den Town, the electronic and manga/anime district, which is comparable to Akihabara; the Umeda district, which has the Hankyu Sanbangai shopping mall and Yodobashi Camera, a huge electrical appliance store that offers a vast range of fashion stores, restaurants, and a Shonen Jump store. Osaka is known for its food, in Japan and abroad. Author

oshizushi
(押し寿司, pressed sushi), particularly battera (バッテラ, pressed mackerel sushi). Osaka is known for its fine sake, which is made with fresh water from the prefecture's mountains.[85] Osaka's culinary prevalence is the result of a location that has provided access to high-quality ingredients, a high population of merchants, and proximity to the ocean and waterway trade.[86] In recent years, Osaka has started to garner more attention from foreigners with the increased popularity of cooking and dining in popular culture.[87]

Other shopping districts include:

Entertainment and performing arts

The National Museum of Art, a subterranean museum of Japanese and international art
  • Osaka is home to the National Bunraku Theatre,[88] where traditional puppet plays, bunraku, are performed.
  • At Osaka Shochiku-za, close to Namba station, kabuki can be enjoyed as well as manzai.
  • At Shin Kabuki-za, formerly near Namba and now near Uehommachi area, enka concerts and Japanese dramas are performed.
  • Yoshimoto Kogyo, a Japanese entertainment conglomerate operates a hall in the city for manzai and other comedy shows: the Namba Grand Kagetsu hall.
  • The Hanjō-tei opened in 2006, dedicated to
    Ōsaka Tenman-gū
    area.
  • Umeda Arts Theater opened in 2005 after relocating from its former 46-year-old Umeda Koma Theater. The theater has a main hall with 1,905 seats and a smaller theater-drama hall with 898 seats. Umeda Arts Theatre stages various type of performances including musicals, music concerts, dramas, rakugo, and others.
  • The Symphony Hall, built in 1982, is the first hall in Japan designed specially for classical music concerts. The Hall was opened with a concert by the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, which is based in the city. Orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic have played here during their world tours as well.
  • Osaka-jō Hall is a multi-purpose arena in Osaka-jō park with a capacity for up to 16,000 people. The hall has hosted numerous events and concerts including both Japanese and international artists.
  • Nearby City Hall in
    Neo-Renaissance
    -style building first opened in 1918. Re-opened in 2002 after major renovation, it serves as a multi-purpose rental facility for citizen events.
  • The Osaka Shiki Theatre[89] is one of the nine private halls operated nationwide by the Shiki Theatre, staging straight plays and musicals.
  • Festival Hall was a hall hosting various performances including noh, kyōgen, kabuki, ballets as well as classic concerts. The Bolshoi Ballet and the Philharmonia are among the many that were welcomed on stage in the past. The hall has closed at the end of 2008, planned to re-open in 2013 in a new facility.

Annual festivals

Tenjin Matsuri

One of the most famous festivals held in Osaka, the

Sumiyoshi Taisha), Shōryō-e (April 22, Shitennō-ji) and Tōka-Ebisu (January 9–10, Imamiya Ebisu Jinja). The annual Osaka Asian Film Festival
takes place in Osaka every March.

Museums and galleries

The

Osaka Municipal Museum of Art is inside Tennōji park, housing over 8,000 pieces of Japanese and Chinese paintings and sculptures. The Osaka Museum of History, opened in 2001, is located in a 13-story modern building providing a view of Osaka Castle
. Its exhibits cover the history of Osaka from pre-history to the present day. Osaka Museum of Natural History houses a collection related to natural history and life.

Sports

Osaka Dome
, home to the Orix Buffaloes and Hanshin Tigers

Osaka hosts four professional sport teams: one of them is the

Kyocera Dome Osaka as well, when their homeground Koshien Stadium is occupied with the annual National High School Baseball Championship
games during summer season.

There are two

Hanazono Rugby Stadium
.

The Haru Basho (春場所, "Spring Tournament"), one of the six regular tournaments of professional sumo, is held annually in Osaka at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Another major annual sporting event that takes place in Osaka is

International Association of Athletics Federations
(IAAF) in May. The Osaka GP is the only IAAF games annually held in Japan.

Osaka made the bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2008 Summer Paralympics but was eliminated in the first round of the vote on July 13, 2001, which awarded the game to Beijing.

Osaka was one of the host cities of the official

Women's Volleyball World Championship for its 1998, 2006 and 2010
editions.

Osaka is the home of the 2011 created Japan Bandy Federation and the introduction of bandy, in the form of rink bandy, was made in the city.[90] In July 2012 the first Japan Bandy Festival was organized.[91]

Media

NHK Osaka

Osaka serves as one of the media hubs for Japan, housing headquarters of many media-related companies. Abundant television production takes place in the city and every nationwide TV network (with the exception of TXN network) registers its secondary-key station in Osaka. All five nationwide newspaper majors also house their regional headquarters, and most local newspapers nationwide have branches in Osaka. However major film productions are uncommon in the city. Most major films are produced in nearby Kyoto or in Tokyo. The Ad Council Japan was founded in 1971 is based in Osaka, now it is the Osaka branch.

Newspapers

All five major national newspapers of Japan,

Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun,[92] have their regional headquarters in Osaka and issue their regional editions. Furthermore, Osaka houses Osaka Nichi-nichi Shimbun, its newspaper press. Other newspaper-related companies located in Osaka include the regional headquarters of FujiSankei Business i.;Houchi Shimbunsha; Nikkan Sports; Sports Nippon, and offices of Kyodo News Jiji Press; Reuters; Bloomberg L.P.

Broadcasting

The five TV networks are represented by

, the last providing programs in multiple languages including English.

Publishing companies

Osaka is home to many publishing companies, including Examina, Izumi Shoin, Kaihou Shuppansha, Keihanshin Elmagazine, Seibundo Shuppan, Sougensha, and Toho Shuppan.

Education

Kansai University
Osaka Metropolitan University

Public elementary and junior high schools in Osaka are operated by the city of Osaka. Its supervisory organization on educational matters is Osaka City Board of Education.[93] Likewise, public high schools are operated by the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education.

Osaka once had a large number of universities and high schools, but because of growing campuses and the need for larger area, many chose to move to the suburbs, including Osaka University.[94]

Historically foreign expatriates in the Kansai region preferred to live in

American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Kansai chapter president Norman Solberg stated that since 2002 the numbers of expatriates in Kansai were recovering "but the fact is there is still a persistent exodus to Tokyo."[97] In 2001 the city of Osaka and YMCA established the Osaka YMCA International School.[95]

Colleges and universities include:

Libraries

Learned society

  • The Japanese Academy of
    Family Medicine

Facilities

"Important cultural property" (重要文化財) after the name of a facility indicates an important cultural property designated by the country.

Leisure facilities and high-rise buildings

Universal Studios Japan

Historical site

Parks and gardens

Ancient architecture

  • Sumiyoshi Taisha
    main shrine (national treasure)

Modern architecture

Theaters and halls

Sport venues

Nagai Park is visible at center.

Religious facilities

Shrines
Temples
Churches

International relations

Tsūtenkaku, a symbol of Osaka's postwar reconstruction

Twin towns – sister cities

Osaka is twinned with:[99]

Friendship cooperation cities

Osaka also cooperates with:[99]

Business partner cities

Osaka's business partner cities, mostly in the

Asia-Pacific region, are:[99]

Sister ports

Osaka's sister ports are:[99]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ This name was historically written as 浪華 or 浪花, with the same pronunciation, though these renderings are uncommon today.

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Further reading

External links

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