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Definition: Kobe from Philip's Encyclopedia

City and seaport on SW Honshu island, Japan, on Osaka Bay. Kobe is Japan's leading port and a major industrial centre. In January 1995, more than 5000 people were killed and 27,000 injured in an earthquake. Industries: shipbuilding, iron and steel, electronics, chemicals. Pop. (2000) 1,493,000.


Summary Article: Kobe from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Deep-water port on Osaka Bay in Hyogo prefecture, southern Honshu island, Japan; population (2014 est) 1,537,900. It was a treaty port between 1868 and 1899, for foreigners exempt from Japanese law. Port Island, an artificial island of 5 sq km/3 sq mi in Kobe harbour, was created in 1960–68 from the rock of nearby mountains. It was one of the world's largest construction projects, and is now a residential and recreation area with a luxury hotel, amusement park, and conference centres. It is linked to the city by a driverless, computerized monorail. Kobe and the neighbouring cities of Osaka and Kyoto make up the Keihanshin Industrial Zone, which is the second-largest conurbation in Japan, after the Yokohama-Tokyo metropolitan area.

An earthquake registering 7.2 on the Richter scale hit Kobe in January 1995, causing widespread devastation and leaving more than 5,372 people dead, nearly 27,000 injured, and over 45,000 homes destroyed. Many of the buildings destroyed in the earthquake contained asbestos, used in Japanese buildings until 1965. The levels of asbestos fibres in the air were four times the national average during the demolition of damaged buildings.

Kobe has been a major port (Hyogo) since the 8th century and prospered in the 15th and 16th centuries from trade with Ming China. It was opened to foreign trade in 1868. In 1892 the two towns amalgamated to form one city. Kobe did not share the phenomenal growth of the other leading cities of Japan during the inter-war decades; nevertheless, its population grew 50% in 15 years. It was extensively damaged by bombing during 1945, but was quickly rebuilt. Kobe has links with St Catherine's College, Oxford; the St Catherine's College Kobe Institute, financed mainly by Kobe Steel, opened in 1991.

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