Kansai

Kansai

 

(Kinki), a major economic region of Japan, in the southern part of the island of Honshu.

Kansai comprises six prefectures: Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo (constituting the subregion of western Kansai) and Shiga, Nara, and Wakayama (constituting the subregion of eastern Kansai). The island of Awaji in the Seto Sea (Inland Sea) also belongs to Kansai. Area, 27, 200 sq km; population, 17. 4 million (1970). Almost 72 percent of the population of Kansai lives in the 48 cities of the region (1967). Of the working population, 7. 6 million in 1965, 34 percent are engaged in manufacturing, 10. 5 percent in agriculture, 13 percent in services, 20. 5 percent in trade, and 7. 4 percent in construction.

The geographic position of the region in the central part of the archipelago of Japanese islands, the well-developed transportation network, and convenient sea routes have all contributed to Kansai’s economic development. More than half of the region consists of a maritime strip. Kansai is second in Japan in terms of the general production level after the economic region of Kanto. According to national income figures (1965), manufacturing, is the most important sector, producing 35 percent of the income, followed by trade (18 percent), construction (8 percent), and agriculture (3 percent). Most fuel, raw materials, and semi-processed goods have to be imported. Within Kansai, copper is mined at Ikuno, Hyogo Prefecture; tin, at the Akenobe mines; lead and zinc, in Wakayama Prefecture; and manganese ore, in the prefectures of Osaka, Shiga, and Kyoto.

The leading manufacturing sectors are textiles (30 percent of total Japanese production), ferrous metals (36 percent), machinery (29 percent), electrical machinery (25 percent), and chemicals (22 percent).

The Kansai region, Osaka in particular, has long been known for its textiles, especially for its cotton fabrics. Cotton fabrics and articles from natural silk are made in the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Wakayama. There is large-scale military production, including naval shipbuilding. Kansai has highly developed glass, ceramic, printing, and food-processing industries. Metallurgy and machine building are basically concentrated in the Osaka-Kobe region. Kansai combines modern factory and plant production with a dispersed handicrafts industry.

Agricultural production plays a limited role in the economy of Kansai. The region has to import agricultural produce from outside. However, the maritime part of the region, the lowland of Kinki, is one of the main rice-producing regions of the country; with a yield of 1. 2 million tons, it constitutes 8 percent of the total land area under rice cultivation in Japan. After the harvest, rice fields are planted a second time with barley and wheat. There are tea plantations, citrus farms (mandarin oranges in Wakayama Prefecture), and vineyards (Osaka Prefecture). Animal husbandry has secondary importance, but poultry breeding has been developed. The railroad system is electrified. Osaka and Kobe are the region’s seaports.

N. A. SMIRNOV


Kansai

 

an urban-type settlement in Leninabad Oblast, Ta-dzhik SSR. Located on the slopes of the Karamazor Range, 49km north of the Leninabad railroad station on the Khavast-Kokand line. Population, 5, 000 (1970). Lead and zinc ores aremined there.

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