Kansai - The Industrial and Economic Leader
In the industrial and economic fields, the gross production figures for Kansai rank in the top level even when compared to any of the countries around the world.
From ancient times, Kansai developed as the industrial and economic center of Japan. That is especially so in regard to Osaka, which prospered to the extreme in the Edo Period as the largest, most productive distribution center for rice in the country, and it became known as "The Nation's Kitchen," meaning that, from an economic standpoint, it fed the whole nation. The Dojima Rice Market in Osaka was the first of the modern product exchange markets in the world dealing in futures. Kansai was also the leader in Japan in the development of modern industries after the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912). Starting with the textile, steel, and shipbuilding industries, many corporations were born in Kansai, such as those in the chemical and electric industries, and there are many international corporations located in Kansai as well. From the later part of the 1970s, there was a structural revolution in the industries located in Kansai, with a shift from heavy industry to new modern industries taking advantage of leading technological advances in a variety of fields, such as opto-electronics, biotechnology, and the development of new materials.
The tertiary industries, such as commerce and services, have shown remarkable growth, and further, the Kansai region has shown a striking enterprising spirit, so much so that people now say, "If it's a new business or a new product, it comes from Kansai." New business ventures and concept products are being created daily in the Kansai region.
Another characteristic of Kansai is that it is the home of many "very demanding consumers." It has been said that the people of Kansai have sharp eyes, and that they take a close look at the price and quality of a product, resulting in a very accurate evaluation of any product. In a market like this, corporations must make all-out efforts in order to endure and stay in competition. It is undeniable that, while creating a strict business environment, the end result is advantageous for corporations in the Kansai region.