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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Osaka celebrates 100th anniversary of landmark Tsutenkaku Tower

Kyodo

OSAKA — A ceremony Tuesday marked the 100th anniversary of the landmark Tsutenkaku Tower in Naniwa Ward, Osaka.

News photo
Centurion: A statue of the god Billiken is kept dry Tuesday as Osaka marked the 100th anniversary of Tsutenkaku Tower in Naniwa Ward. KYODO

The eve featured a statue of a Billiken god that sat on the 103-meter tower's observatory deck for about 30 years until May.

The tower and statue have been long regarded as a symbol of the local Shinsekai entertainment district and as a broader symbol of the entire city.

"My heart is too full for words. As a resident of Shinsekai, I'm proud (of the anniversary)," said Masaaki Nishigami, 62, president of the tower's operator, Tsutenkaku Kanko Co.

The original tower was built in 1912 as a symbol of the Shinsekai area, which was dotted with restaurants, bars, movie theaters and other entertainment establishments. A fire destroyed the tower in 1943, but it was rebuilt by locals in 1956.

A total of 37 million tourists have visited the new tower, including 1.2 million last year alone.



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