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Osaka(ō`säkä), city (1990 pop. 2,623,801), capital of Osaka prefecture, S Honshu, Japan, on Osaka Bay, at the mouth of the Yodo River. One of Japan's largest cities and principal industrial and commercial centers, Osaka is the focal point of a chain of industrial cities (called the Hanshin or Kinki) stretching to Kobe, an alternate port for Osaka. Machinery, electrical machinery, iron and steel, metals, textiles, chemicals, food processing, and printing are among the chief industries. The city is also a major port, transportation hub, and financial and media center; a new international airport opened in 1992 on an artificial island in Osaka Bay. A cultural and educational center, Osaka is known for its puppet and other theaters and for Osaka and Kansai universities. Its parks and gardens are noted for their beauty. Landmarks include the Buddhist temple of Shitennoji, founded in 593, and Temmangu, a Shinto shrine founded in 949. As Naniwa, the city was the site of imperial palaces as early as the 4th cent. Its importance as a commercial center dates from the 16th cent., when it became Hideyoshi's seat and grew to be Japan's leading trade center. Hideyoshi's huge castle, reconstructed in 1931, still dominates the city. Osaka prefecture (1990 pop. 8,542,624), c.700 sq mi (1,810 sq km), has a rugged interior and a flat and fertile coast. Its main products are iron, steel, textiles, chemicals, and electric machinery.
a prefecture in Japan referred to as Osaka-Fu (“capital prefecture”). Located in the southern part of the island of Honshu, on the Inland Sea. Area, 1,854 sq km. Population, 8,023,000 (1973), including 7,500,000 urban. Capital, Osaka.
Most of the prefecture is occupied by the Kinki plain, nearly all of which is under cultivation. The climate is subtropical and humid. The low mountainous areas have subtropical and broad-leaved forests.
Osaka is the chief industrial zone of the Kansai economic region. In 1971 it accounted for about 11 percent of the country’s total industrial output. The main industries are general machine building, electrical machine building, metallurgy, and chemicals. Petrochemical production, precision machine building, and electronics are growing rapidly. Textiles continue to have considerable importance. There are numerous food-processing plants, sawmills, and wood-products factories. The coastal strip of the prefecture forms a solid industrial belt.
Agriculture is of secondary importance, and small peasant farms predominate. The acreage under cultivation is decreasing. The principal crops are barley, wheat, and rice, 52,000 tons of which were produced on 30,000 hectares in 1970. Fruit growing and vegetable growing are well developed; citrus fruits are particularly important. There is also sericulture, poultry farming, fishing and the raising of livestock, which are quartered in stables.
N. A. SMIRNOV
a city in Japan, on the coastal plain of the Inland Sea, in the delta of the navigable Yodo River. Capital of Osaka-fu (“capital prefecture”). Area, 206 sq km. Population, 2.9 million (1973).
Osaka is economically the second most important city in Japan after Tokyo. With its suburbs and satellite cities, it forms the industrial core of Kansai, one of Japan’s leading economic regions. The city is a major port for both trade and passenger traffic: the value of the exports passing through it exceeds 40 percent of the country’s total. It is an important highway, railroad, and airline junction; the nearby Itami international airport serves the city. Osaka is a major Japanese financial, banking, and commercial center. A stock exchange, rice exchange, cotton exchange, chambers of commerce and industry, and the managing offices of joint-stock companies and of branches of the country’s largest commercial banks are located there.
Osaka has more than 30,000 factories. It accounts for 15 percent of the total steel smelted in Japan, 40 percent of the rolled steel, and more than one-third of the country’s nonferrous metal products. The general character of Osaka’s industry has changed in the 1960’s and 1970’s, with heavy industry assuming the leading role. The manufacture of complicated precision machinery requiring highly skilled labor predominates—ships, power system equipment, instruments, machine tools, and radio equipment. The chemical industry is well developed and produces rubber goods, synthetic materials, varnishes, paints, and pharmaceuticals. Also well developed are the textile industry, which produces fine woolens and cotton and knitted fabrics, and the printing, leather-goods, and footwear industries. Osaka also has food processing, including fish canning, flour milling, and sugar refining. Other industries are cement, glass, ceramics, and wood products. Most of the major plants are located on the coastal strip in the western part of the port district or on the banks of the Yodo River.
Osaka has many parks, as well as a subway system. It is the home of Osaka University and other higher educational institutions. There is a municipal museum of fine arts and a planetarium. In 1970, Osaka hosted EXPO 70, a world’s fair.
N. A. SMIRNOV
In antiquity, the site of present-day Osaka was occupied by the settlement of Naniwa, the earliest mention of which is found in sources dating from the fourth to seventh centuries. In the 15th century, Naniwa acquired its present name of Osaka. Between 1583 and 1586, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the de facto ruler of Japan during the 1580’s and 1590’s, built a castle in Osaka and made the city his residence. Osaka soon developed into a major city, becoming an important commercial center. From the 17th century to the first half of the 19th, it experienced several rebellions of the urban poor. In 1837, Oshio Heihachiro led a major rebellion against the Tokugawa government. The city has been a center of the labor movement since the early 20th century.
Osaka’s central district is encircled by a railway and has a nearly regular plan. Because of numerous canals connected with the Yodo River, Osaka is known as the “Venice of Japan.” The city’s picturesqueness is enhanced by Nakanoshima Park and by Tennoji Park with its Keitaku-en botanical gardens. Examples of medieval architecture include the Shitennoji temple, which was founded in the sixth century and reconstructed in 1623, the Shinto temple of Temmangu, founded in the tenth century and rebuilt in 1901, and Osaka Castle, which was completed in 1586, destroyed and rebuilt in the 17th century, and restored with reinforced concrete in 1931. Among the most important 20th-century buildings are the New Kabuki Theater (1958, architects Murano and Mori), the Dentsu administrative building (1960, architect K. Tange), the pharmaceutical laboratory (1961, architect D. Sakakura), the University of Arts (1966), and the international airport (1968). In the environs of Osaka are the satellite cities of Senboku (1964–70), Kori (1958–64), and Senri (1961–68).