Osaka: An Introduction

By Dai Yah Thompson

Osaka is Japan’s second largest metropolitan area and is known for its modern architecture, flourishing nightlife, and successful commercial and trade districts. Its bustling ports with strategic access to the Korean peninsula and Chinese mainland allowed Osaka a central position in some of Japan’s earliest military and diplomatic missions. Furthermore, its success as a trading port and brief position as the nation’s capital placed Osaka in a position to become one of Japan’s premier locations for travelers and investors alike. Osaka in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries became an industrial powerhouse. However, Osaka’s success does not mean that all is well in the “Manchester of the Orient.” Osaka in the past and present has faced many obstacles to its success. These include the devastation of WWII bombing raids that basically leveled the city and its port; ever increasing vacancy rates in suburban areas in recent years, and a police force that is constantly in the midst of scandal. The times and trials of Osaka are that of a city constantly in flux, seeking to reconcile its illustrious past with a complex present and ambitions for the future.

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