Osaka

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SEMINAR 2, Group 3 Alicia Grace, Rebecca Kent, Reha Singh, Mohammad Zia



Contents

[edit] Introduction

Osaka,Japan
Osaka,Japan [1]
There was a time, hundreds of years ago, when Osaka was the political and cultural center of Japan. In the 7th century Osaka was Japan's first ever known capital with a population of 2.5 million. Osaka formally known as Naniwa before the Nara period is the 3rd largest and 2nd most important city of Japan [2]. Although the capital was later moved to Nara and Kyoto, Osaka flourished as the main center for culture and trade. In 1583, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, after completing a monumental task of uniting the country, chose Osaka as his base and built the great Osaka Castle, thus making Osaka the political and economic center of Japan Osaka [3]. In the 17th century, the political center of the country shifted to Tokyo, but nevertheless, Osaka remained the economic and trade center and was called the ‘Nation’s Kitchen’ [4]. With lot of cotton farming in the area, Osaka also became the center for the textile industry [5]. Osaka serves as a major economic hub in Japan, moreover Osaka was the second most expensive city for expatriate employees in the world in 2009. To get great insight about Osaka, it can be broken down into 6 components; globalization, political geography, population, migration, social geography, cultural geography.

[6]

[edit] Globalization

Night life in Osaka
Night life in Osaka [7]
. Osaka being ranked 19th among all the cities in the world plays an important role in global economy. Osaka has showered the world with high tech exports ( gadgets, automobiles, microelectronic products) [8]. Osaka has been Japan’s gateway to the world since ancient times [9]. In recent years, with globalization fully entrenched in today’s world economy, Osaka has played an important role in Japan’s economy and rise as an industrial power [10]. With focused reforms in their social, educational, scientific research and business cultures to meet the challenges of globalization, Osaka has gone a long way in becoming an industrial giant in its own rights. It is now known as the City for Small and Medium-Sized Companies, and approximately 65% of the small to medium-sized manufacturing companies in Japan are located in Osaka [11]. Investment in educational reforms and research programs tailored to bring about the necessary changes needed to face the challenges of globalization paid off quite well. Home-grown technology developed and flourished. Many companies became big international entities capturing a large share of the world's markets [12]. These reforms also created a powerful spirit of rational approach to corporate affairs. With shackles of a closed society broken and minds wandering freely, many unique products and business innovations were conceived in this historic great city.

[edit] History & Economy

After the Second World War, the economy of Japan went through a transformation. The high tech industry, including IT, started growing and the economic balance gradually shifted to Tokyo [14]. Almost 80-85 % of the big businesses in Japan made their base in Tokyo, with Osaka having a share of about 10-15% [15]. Globalization started taking its roots around the world, and Osaka fell short in taking full advantage of this development [16]. With the realization that a change in business and social culture is needed in order to harness the fruits of globalization, and combined with an underlying desire to regain some of its lost glory, Osaka started to introduce new policies encouraging modernization and globalization of their social and business philosophies [17]. Through various institutions, it took steps to integrate globalization in its social, educational and business practices.

At the present, the region encompassing Osaka is an extremely large-scale economic zone. The GDP for the area stands at $359.8 billion (calculated at a rate of ¥107.49 to the dollar on 2004) which is almost equal to that of Switzerland [18].

[edit] Policies

In 1992, Osaka developed a policy called ‘The Basic Policy for Promotion of Osaka Prefecture Internationalization’ [19]. This policy highlighted the fundamental challenges that faced the city and the reforms needed to develop Osaka as a global and international city [20]. Field of international exchange and cooperation with the local residents, relevant institutions and other entities was put on top priority. The creation of an open-minded society, where people of different race and background, or nationalities, could live and work together in harmony, was deemed necessary to realize an urban and modern Osaka [21].

In line with the guiding principle of openness and globalization, Osaka University embarked on an ambitious plan to make it one of the top research universities of the world [22]. They have made agreements with four research institutes in France, Finland, Sweden and Israel for joint research and exchange of full time faculty. This will greatly help in promoting a global environment in an otherwise closed society [23]. The university is now implementing a program of ‘Projects for Promoting International Joint Research’ in which international researchers will work with the university researchers in advanced research programs [24].

Josho Gakuen Educational Foundation is another platform encouraging this new direction. Osaka Institute of Technology, a member of the foundation, is promoting globalization through various new policies [25]. These policies aim to, among other things; promote international partnerships and collaboration in educational and research programs [26]; create a culturally diverse campus environment to increase the global awareness of students, faculty and staff, and thereby, trickling down the effect to the whole society [27]; motivate the local community by sharing the benefits of globalization [28].

With a multibillion dollar global fashion industry, Osaka is also positioning itself to get a slice of the big fashion pie. A full-fledged global strategy was put in place [30]. Marketing outlets in most fashion hubs, including India, Hong Kong and Vietnam were established. Creation of ICT infrastructure to create smooth flow of information from one hub to the other played a pivotal role in enhancing the business and taking it to the next level [31].

[edit] International Ties

Osaka is twinned ( twin towns are a form of a legal binding agreement between two cities or even countries to promote cultural and commercial ties) with the following cities [32]:

San Francisco
Sao Paulo
Chicago
Shanghai
Melbourne
Saint Petersburg
Milan
Hamburg
Kanpur


Furthermore Osaka has business partnerships with the following cities [33]:

Auckland
Bangkok
Hong Kong
Kuala Lumpur
Melbourne
Mumbai
Shanghai

[edit] Political Geography

The city of Osaka has a rather complex system of government which stems from it's past and is a representation of the existing systems set up within the entire state of Japan. After a long period of time with a lack of political geographers within Japan to track the changes within the political system, there has been a regeneration of political geographers so a more accurate depict of the political make-up of Osaka can be seen. Osaka is one of 20 major cities designated by government ordinance and is a reflection of the prefecture system.

History

In 1878 Osaka as well as Tokyo City and Kyoto City, which combined with Osaka make up the three capitals of Japan, were divided into subdivisions [34]. These subdivisions are predated to the political administrative system that is currently in place. In 1947 the current legal framework was created in the forms of the U.S drafted constitution and the Local Autonomy Law which have allowed for political expansion within the city and the political relations it shares with other regions of Japan[35] .

Prefectures

The state of Japan is divided into 47 prefectures, which are then divided into cities that either exist within the prefecture system or are municipalities [37]. Osaka lies within the Osaka prefecture and is the prefectural capital. Osaka, as a city, is then subdivided into 24 wards that come together to form the Osaka City Council.

The city’s government system consists of a City Council, which has 89 seats as well as a council President position that is currently being held by Toshifumi Tagaya [39]. The city of Osaka also has a Mayor: Toru Hashimoto; he was the previous Governor of the Osaka Prefecture and is the city’s 19th Mayor holding office since 2011. In accordance with the bylaw he is appointed two Vice Mayors and elections are held every four years [40]. Osaka City's wards serve as electoral districts for the Osaka Prefectural District. Together they elect 33 of the 109 members of the assembly [41].


Osaka City Council Composition

Parliamentary Group Number of Seats

Osaka Restoration Association 33

Komeito (Justice Party) 19

Liberal Democratic Party 17

Osaka Mirai (Osaka Future) 12

Japanese Communist Party 9

Total 89


Devolution

The city of Osaka is a representation of the continued devolution of the state of Japan. Devolution, in this context, can be described as a process through which the power and political control is shifted and transferred from larger governing bodies to smaller, municipality based government structures [42]. The Local Autonomy Law of Japan was passed as Law No. 67 on April 17, 1947, an Act of Devolution that established most of Japan's contemporary local government structures, including prefectures, municipalities and other entities.

[edit] Population

As of July 2014, the population of Osaka was 2,685,218. Meanwhile, the population of the Osaka prefecture is around 8,857,691. Osaka is located at the centre of Japan and is the third largest city in terms of population density, behind Tokyo. [44] Osaka is divided into uptown and downtown and is primarily made up of suburbs, with an average of 2.1 persons per household.[45] The urban geography of Osaka may be a cause of a population decrease as residents of Japan are moving out of the suburbs. [46] According to recent research, 13.4% of the population of Osaka is comprised of 0-15 year-olds, 16-64 year olds account for 63.6% of the population, and lastly the 65 and over demographic makes up 22% of the population. This reflects trends that can be seen in Canada and around the world, in which there is an aging population with smaller birth rates than previously seen.[47] Since the younger demographic is the smallest portion of Osaka's population, they may experience issues with natural population growth due to these decreasing birth rates. This further conveys what Fouberg et al. (2012) pointed out about South Asia, as it addressed the issue of how there is no significant population growth in the East (Japan). There are 95 males to every 100 females, so the gender composition is not out of the ordinary. Furthermore, there is some cultural diversity as 0.5% of Osaka's population is made up of Koreans, 0.4% is made up of Chinese reisdents; however, the population is dominantly Japanese. Lastly, the life expectancy for males is 78.99 years, while feamles is 85.93 years. [48] This life expectancy illustrates that Osaka must have good health care as well as living conditions since Japan has the lowest infant mortality rates. The following trends seen in Osaka's population may be due to things like birth control, abortion, focus on education and careers, and good health care.[49]

[edit] Migration

Migration is known to be a change residence intended to be permanent; in other words; It is the movement of people from one place in the world to another for the purpose of taking up permanent or semi-permanent residence, usually across a political boundary.[50]

A large population of Koreans were forced to seek employment outside their country of Korea in 1910. Korean migration began during the height of Japanese imperial expansion in East Asia during the late 19th century. The majority of immigrant came mostly due to the fact they encountered poor conditions in their native land prospects for a better life in Japan. [51]After the Koreans established jobs within Japan and Osaka, these labour migrants began to contact families and friends to have them come to Osaka. The initial migration occurred of Koreans occurred between the years for 1912 and 1920. However it was known to be forced migration rather than voluntary migration. This is due to the fact the majority of the Korean population was forced to seek settlement within Japan and Osaka due to the unbearable economic and political conditions in their homeland. Eventually by the year of 1931 there were nearly more than 300,000 Koreans that resided in Japan and Osaka. [52]


[edit] Social Geography

[edit] Famous Tourist Attractions

Spa World

Spa World is located in Southern Osaka, Spa World is an extraordinary and popular attraction within Osaka. It is a unique spa center that offers seven floors of onsens , sauana’s and swimming pool. It is a unique 24/7 and also offers accommodation options as well as food courts and restaurants.

Umeda Sky Building

A 40 story tower that features a rooftop observatory of a Floating Garden. Along with the main floor representing old fashion images of Osaka from the 1920s. it is the city’s most recognized landmarks.

The Umeda Neighbourhood

This neighbourhood is an attractive neighbourhood that tends to become alive during the night. It consists of ethnic restaurants along with entertainment districts. It give visitors a sense of urban diversity.

[edit] Ethnicity

The Japanese society indeed homogenous. Ethinic Japense account for 98.5% of the country’s population. While other parts of Japan such as Osaka are known for having distinctive, colourful, and the whole country essentially speaks the same language. Along with this the most of the population composes of Korean’s due to the fact that most Korean’s migrated to Osaka.[54]

[edit] Cultural Geography

Osaka has a unique culture as it combines celebrating historical beliefs and landscapes as well as new innovative editions to their culture.[55] Osaka is considered the cultural centre of Japan since ancient times. Their culture celebrates telling stories for entertainment which can be seen in Bunraku, as well as Shinju-mono (suicide stories) that depict human nature being tortured by worldly obligations[56]. Given this, it is clear why Osaka is known as the capital of theatrical arts. This helps Osaka sustain their local culture and ensure that they are preserving past historical beliefs that make their culture unique[57].

[edit] Diversity

There is some multiculturalism within Osaka as the population consists of 0.5% Korean, 0.4% Chinese, 0.6% others, and the remaining population is Japanese which makes up 98.5% of citizens in Osaka. [58]

[edit] Neighbourhoods

There are multiple neighbourhoods within Osaka that join together different groups within the culture that hold similar values and beliefs with one another, which can be referred to as subcultures [59]. These neighbourhoods are an example of urban local cultures that can be used for tourism. Dotombori is the theatre and cinema district that have houses that line the streets. Minami is the most energetic neighbourhood in Osaka that would resemble the "downtown" area of a city. Denden Town is considered the electronic district of Osaka that has the focus on innovation and technology. Furthermore, there is an American village in Osaka that is called Amerika-mura, this neighbourhood is most attractive to youth as it is upbeat and has a variety of activities such as clubs, shopping and music.[60] This represents the diffusion of popular culture as it incorporates trends that are prominent in Western cultures and it has a small-scale version of the Statue of Liberty and global chain that may lead to placelessness. [61] Moreover, Osaka has a gay district that resembles gay neighbourhoods seen in Canada, like Church street, which promotes diversity and allows the LGBT population to embrace their beliefs. Doyana-cho is where most night life takes place and where inhabitants of the gay districts flock to. [62] Lastly, there is Cosmosquare which is a newer area in Osaka that has a museum, multiple shopping malls, and aquarium, and trade fairs that is able to contribute to the culture in Osaka.

[edit] Entertainment and Tourism

Osaka offers a variety of night life, museums, orchestras, theatre, and recreational facilities that attract both tourists and citizens to the area. Universal studios Japan bring in aspects of cultures from around the world that attract a large number of tourists.[64] However, this infusion of popular culture into local culture may risk the uniqueness and authenticity of Osaka's traditional cultural practices and structures. [65] Moreover, Osaka sustains their local culture through historical elements such as the Hozenji-Temple and the Jiani-machi area, where the atmosphere from the Edo period (17th to 19th century) is preserved. [66] The Osaka aquarium, Kaiyukan, is one of the world's largest aquariums that is able to bring in tourists. The Danjiri Matsuri Festival consists of decoratively carved floats that represent each town within Osaka. Similar to this, Osaka has the Midosuji parade every October that showcases local performing arts and dances from around the world. These parades are examples of how Osaka is able to blend popular and local culture in a way that will not jeopardize local identities and values. [67] Lastly, the Chikatsu Asuka historical museum is yet another example of how local culture is sustained as it a historical park that has a museum containing artefacts that represent ancient Japanese times. [68]

[69]

[edit] Religion

The religious diversity within Osaka is fairly vast as 11.5% of the population celebrate Shintoism, 41.1% is Buddhist, 5.4% Christian, and the remaining 41.9% classify themselves in the "other" category. [70] Osaka has multiple religious landscapes and institutions for these varying religions that are able to unite people who hare common religious beliefs. Religious landscapes are considered one of the more important visible cultural landscapes as they can be telling of diversity, changes within a population over time, and dominant religious and cultural beliefs in an area. [71]


[edit] Notes and References

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  69. Midosuji parade 2006. (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP0-oMv6O6M
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