Photographer's Note

Tsutenkaku is a symbol of Osaka that has appeared in many movies. It was built in 1912 as the symbol of Shin-Sekai (a new world). Its concept was very typical of Osaka: build a steel tower that looks like Eifel Tower on a building designed in the image of the Arch of Triumph. With a height of 64 m, it was the tallest structure in the East Asia at the time and named Tsutenkaku, meaning “Building leading to heaven,” by Fujisawa Nangaku, a Confucian in the early Meiji period. Later it was dismantled after a fire but reconstructed at the request of citizens. At 103 m, the new Tsutenkaku is 39 m higher than the original. In 2007, it was registered as a tangible cultural property of Japan.

With an observation platform on the 5th floor with a bird’s eye view of Osaka and Billiken, a deity believed to bring good luck if you rub the soles of his feet, the tower attracts 700,000 people every year. The round neon sign on the top of Tsutenkaku displays a weather forecast using a combination of colors (white for fair, orange for cloudy, and blue for rainy). Tsutenkaku Theater, in the basement, offers performances of rakugo (comic storytelling), manzai (comical conversation), and local enka (popular ballad) singers on weekends.

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Additional Photos by Ralf Lai (kim_gwan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 99 W: 0 N: 368] (1142)
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