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Definition: Osaka from Collins English Dictionary

n

1 a port in S Japan, on S Honshu on Osaka Bay (an inlet of the Pacific): the third largest city in Japan (the chief commercial city during feudal times); university (1931); an industrial and commercial centre. Pop: 2 484 326 (2002 est)


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

Industrial port on the Pacific coast of Honshu island, Japan, 24 km/15 mi from Kobe; population (2014 est) 2,686,250. It is Japan's third-largest city. Industries include iron, steel, shipbuilding, chemicals, and textiles. Emperor Kotoku established it as a capital in 645. Osaka castle, built in 1583, was the scene of a siege in 1614–15. The city is the home of the bunraku puppet theatre.

Osaka is situated in the most densely populated part of the country on a plain sheltered by hills and opening on to Osaka Bay. Criss-crossed by waterways, it is a tourist centre for Kyoto and the Seto Inland Sea and is linked with Tokyo by fast electric train (travelling up to 200 kph/124 mph). An underground shopping and leisure centre (1951) has been used as a model for others throughout Japan. It was a mercantile centre in the 18th century, and in the 20th century set the pace for Japan's revolution based on light industries. Osaka is a major centre of higher education, with many universities and colleges, including Osaka University and Kansai University.

Osaka was a major port for China from the 7th century and was the centre of the national rice and sake trade from the 17th century. During the latter part of the 19th century, Osaka developed as the nucleus of a large industrial region, and was noted particularly for its flourishing cotton textiles industry. The city was severely damaged by US air raids during 1945, and although the city was rapidly rebuilt, the loss of the China trade and the growing centralization of economic activity in Tokyo caused a decline in the relative importance of Osaka as a commercial and industrial centre. Nevertheless, Osaka continues to function as the centre of the second-largest industrial region of Japan, and is the administrative and cultural capital of western Honshu.

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