Osaka is known for many stereotypes. The people of Osaka is said to enjoy being capricious, unlike the people of Tokyo who tend to be more serious. They are also known to be straightforward, something that the people of Kanto find rude. Since I has been a trading and business city for a long time, many people call it a whole other country, because the people of Osaka is known to have strong civilization and culture of its own. Of course people say all those things jokingly. In the other side, Osaka also gave birth to many comedians since it use to have many theatres and comedy clubs.
These stereotypes cannot be used to generalize the situation in Osaka. However, the difference between the Kansai and Kanto people is something interesting to be analysed since Japan is known to be a homogeneous unlike the countries in Southeast Asia.
This is the recording in Dotonburi, one of the more popular areas in Osaka. When visiting Osaka, Dotonbori is considered to be one of the main places to visit. I recorded this using a handy recorder while passing the shopping street in Dotonburi and stopped at Ebisubashi Bridge which is known to be popular photo spot for tourists, especially in front of the famous and legendary ice cream billboard: Glico running man.
Visually, the warmth of the Osaka people can be felt from their installation and billboards in front of their shops and restaurants. For example, the statues of a king crab, squid, and puffer fish that are placed in front of food supply shops and seafood restaurants. There are also comedic characters in billboards and typography models that are not stiff. It is as if the visuals welcome us to the town.
That is the story of the visual in Osaka. How about the soundscape in Dotonbori? You can hear it by yourself. Feels very boisterous doesn’t it? There are merchants offering their goods in a very calm but attracting manner. There is even the sound of a woman who speaks in a very attractive voice. There are also the sounds of tourists chatting along this shopping street. There are people who are still holding a suitcase, probably a person who just got here or are just leaving the place. There are also the sounds produced by the billboards that have their own characteristic.
Dotonbori has a long history starting in 1612 when a merchant named Yasui Doton invested his fortune in building a canal as a continuation of Umizu River that will then be connected to Kizugawa River. Unfortunately, Yasui Doton died in 1915 during a war between the Toyotomi Clan and Shogun Tokugawa regime, which is now known as “Siege of Osaka”. Doton’s plan is then continued by his cousin. The project was finally finished and was given the name Dotonbori, or Doton Canal as a tribute to the one who initiated the construction. The area around the canal started to develop and become a centre of trading, restaurants, and entertainment until today.