Osaka, Home of World-class Businesses

The Osaka spirit of challenge and innovation

Many of the corporations with headquarters in Osaka are world-renowned. Its logistically convenient location, production capacity, and marketability are among the qualities that have attracted them, resulting in a high concentration of business entrepreneurs with a richly enterprising spirit in the prefecture.

Let's take a look at the historical background to Osaka's development as a business center.

Image of Old Osaka
This folding screen is a painting of Osaka at the beginning of the 17th century. The original is divided into eight panels, and is displayed at the Schloss Eggenberg in the city of Graz, Austria. It includes depictions of merchants, financiers, and goods being transported. (Photo courtesy of Kansai University Research Center for Naniwa-Osaka Cultural Heritage Studies.)

Nakanoshima Island

As most goods were transported by boat, the center of Osaka developed along the riverbanks. Nakanoshima, the “middle island” between the Dojimagawa and Tosaborigawa rivers, is still a business center today.

Osaka's history as a center of business can be traced back to the 17th century. Japan's only distribution center was located here. Prices of vital products such as rice and timber were set in Osaka, which stood at the center of the Japanese economy.

Powerful merchants gathered in Osaka from all over Japan, dug their own canals, built bridges, and created a new urban center. Groups of artisans also assembled there, transforming raw materials such as cotton and steel into products like clothing, firearms, and swords.

The systems that undergird the world's contemporary financial, insurance, and futures trading businesses were also generated by Osaka merchants.

Vision, ambition, an independent spirit, and the ability to get things done—it was Osaka that provided the stage for people with these qualities to act. This tradition is still being passed on today.

From: Brand-New Osaka vol.6 (2007.9.)

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