second largest urban and industrial agglomeration in Japan, located on Osaka Bay in west-central Honshu at the eastern end of the Inland Sea. The cities of Osaka and Kobe are at the centre of what is called by geographers the Hanshin Industrial Zone; as a result of the expansion of the urban area along the Inland Sea and northeast toward the city of Kyoto, the region is now included in the larger Keihanshin Industrial Zone. Neither of these zones is a political entity, but the larger of the two corresponds to the Kansai, one of Japan's traditional cultural areas. The Kansai, a region of ancient cities to the west (sai) of the mountain barrier (kan) near Mount Fuji, is the birthplace of the earliest Japanese state. It is an area of historically dense population that until well into the 20th century was the most industrialized and economically advanced part of Japan. Osaka is the capital of Osaka urban prefecture (fu), an administrative division that includes the city of Osaka, a number of smaller cities, and large rural areas. Kobe is the capital and largest city of Hyogo prefecture (ken) and one of Japan's chief ports. There are many satellite industrial and residential cities around the two central cities. Additional reading Two publications by the Association of Japanese Geographers are useful: Japanese Cities: A Geographical Approach (1970), for the academic study of postwar urban Japan; and Geography of Japan (1980), especially ch. 1218, which contains scholarly analyses of contemporary Japanese urban development. William B. Hauser, Economic Institutional Change in Tokugawa Japan: Osaka and the Kinai Cotton Trade (1974), analyzes Osaka's premodern economic role. Osaka and Its Technology (semiannual) includes essays on urban development and public works. A novel by Junichiro Tanizaki, The Makioka Sisters (1957, reissued 1983; originally published in Japanese, 3 vol., 1949), provides an excellent if romanticized view of life in the Osaka-Kobe region before World War II. Pat Tucker Spier (ed.), The River Without Bridges: An Encounter with the Japanese Buraku (1986), discusses the civil rights of the burakumin in Osaka. The 1995 Kobe earthquake is depicted in T.R. Reid, Kobe Wakes to a Nightmare, National Geographic, 188 (1): 112136 (July 1995). Shinzo Kiuchi Ronald P. Toby History Osaka Ancient and medieval periods The plain of Osaka was settled in Paleolithic times and by about AD 300 was a political centre. Among the many ancient burial mounds in the Osaka area is that ascribed to the semilegendary emperor Nintoku; the largest tomb of the Tumulus period, the 5th-century structure is surrounded by three moats and occupies some 80 acres (32 hectares). Ancient Naniwain what is now Osakawas the site of palace or capital complexes intermittently from the early 5th to the mid-7th century, but in 710 it lost its position to Nara, the first permanent national capital. When Kyoto became the imperial capital in 794, land and water routes between Osaka and Kyoto were improved. The reclamation of the delta of the Yodo River allowed the building of new settlements, including Watanabe, which became a provincial capital and port during the Middle Ages. South of Osaka, on the eastern shore of the bay, is Sakai, which had emerged as a port town by the 14th century. There is evidence that, like some medieval European towns, it was self-governing in the 15th and 16th centuries, run by its leading merchants until they capitulated to the warlord Oda Nobunaga in 1569. These merchants grew wealthy from Sakai's lucrative domestic and foreign trade; under their patronage Sakai became a centre of the arts after Kyoto was devastated in the Onin War (146777). Sakai was also a centre of Christian proselytizing in the late 16th and early 17th centuries; the accounts of Jesuit missionaries tell of the wealth and cosmopolitan flavour of the city at that time. In 1496in the midst of a century of civil warRennyo, chief priest of the militant True Pure Land (Jodo Shin) sect of Buddhism, selected a site near the mouth of the Yodo River for a fortress temple. Completed in 1532, this structure, the Ishiyama Hongan Temple, became the nucleus of a major town that was destroyed in 1580 by Nobunaga, after a siege of many years. Nobunaga's successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, built a great castle on the site with massive stone walls and broad moats; the castle town that developed around it was the origin of present-day Osaka. From this base Hideyoshi brought the whole of Japan under his control, and Osaka was the seat of national power until his death in 1598. Early modern and modern periods The castle and town were badly damaged and depopulated during Tokugawa Ieyasu's siege of 161415, in which he eliminated Hideyoshi's heir and consolidated his power as shogun. Succeeding shoguns rebuilt the castle and town, and during the rest of the Tokugawa period (16031867) Osaka was a directly administered shogunal city. Unlike other towns of the period, Osaka was not a political centre and therefore was not dominated by the samurai (warrior) class. Instead, it became the country's main commercial city; feudal lords from throughout Japan established warehouses for their tax rice along the city's canals, and rice was traded actively. Many other goods were traded in Osakawhich had some 380 wholesale houses by 1679and the city became an expanding commercial and manufacturing centre. These activities stimulated the rapid monetization of the regional economy. As it grew more prosperous, Osaka became a centre of the cultural renaissance of the Genroku period (late 17thearly 18th century). Dramatic forms such as bunraku (puppet theatre) and kabuki prospered, and new genres of prose fiction arose, the styles and themes of which catered to the tastes of urban commoners and marked a shift in cultural arbitration away from the samurai class. During the 18th century, however, Osaka's position as cultural leader was lost to Edo (now Tokyo), but the city remained an educational centre, with schools in classical studies and in medicine. In the mid-19th century, when Japan was still closed to most Westerners, the Dutch language and Western science were studied by the Japanese in Osaka. Osaka remained preeminent both as a port and as a centre of industry until World War II. Much of the city was destroyed by aerial bombardment during the war, however, and postwar economic growth was focused largely in the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area. The communist revolution in China deprived Osaka of its important China trade until the early 1970s, while the increasing economic role of the national government tended to encourage industrial location in the Tokyo-Yokohama area.

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