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Get inspired by the fascinating history of Osaka entrepreneurs at The Entrepreneurial Museum of Challenge and Innovation

Get inspired by the fascinating history of Osaka entrepreneurs at The Entrepreneurial Museum of Challenge and Innovation

2021-08-06 Management office

Basic Information

The Entrepreneurial Museum of Challenge and Innovation is dedicated to the 105 business owners and entrepreneurs of Osaka from the Meiji Period onward that helped shape its history. It was built to commemorate the 120th anniversary since the founding of Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The museum is divided into multiple exhibit areas, including the main area with countless panels detailing the achievements and history of respective entrepreneurs, a special area for temporary and special exhibitions, as well as a library featuring biographies of 105 entrepreneurs divided into three periods, Meiji, pre- and post-war respectively. The Meiji Era was dominated by clans focused on finance and banking, as well as spinning mills and the textile industry before western alcohol, cosmetics and railways became the most prominent ones during the era up to the Second World War. Post-war Osaka saw a shift toward appliances and electronics, as well as distribution and logistics which continue to support Osaka even in present times. To make the exhibition more accessible to a wider audience, the exhibition explanations are available in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese via audio guides. For the younger generation there are also Japanese manga comics available.
The museum invests quite a lot of effort into talent development, aimed not only at new hires and upcoming entrepreneurs but also at elementary and junior high schoolers in hopes that perhaps if the children can find inspiration in the success stories of their predecessors, they themselves might perhaps become entrepreneurs that will lead Japan into a new era. For this reason the museum is a popular destination for school trips and excursions. It is also not uncommon for those who are not sure what to do with their lives, or what path to take from now on to visit the museum for a bit of inspiration.
The museum gift shop offers a collection of famous quotes by the entrepreneurs, as well as their mottos and favorite proverbs for that little bit of extra motivation. The museum library stores over 9000 books and documents, with a big portion of them being digitalized and turned into videos available for viewing. By simply visiting the museum and browsing the exhibitions you will definitely realize just how much Osaka contributed to the development of Japan as we know it today. Even though the names of the entrepreneurs might not ring a bell at first, the names of their companies that are major pillars of the Japanese economy stand as a testimony to their greatness.

Learn about the textile and finance industry of the early Meiji Era

The main exhibition area is divided into three zones, with the first one dedicated to the Meiji Period and those who made finance and textile industries flourish in Osaka.
For example, Ito Chubei (Itochu general trading company), Iwai Katsujiro (Sojitz), Iwashita Kiyochika (MUFG Bank), Ohara Soichiro (KURABO INDUSTRIES LTD) to name a few. The list would be too long to do justice to the big names of the industry of this era, suffice it to say the vast majority of these companies not only exist today, but have become an irreplaceable pillar of the Japanese economy. Most of the companies continue their tradition of innovation and invest large sums of money into research and development. In truth, most of the companies of this era are well known not just in Japan, but throughout the world.
Here at the museum you can learn everything about the businesses that spearheaded the advances in the textile industry as well as banking and finances since as early as the Meiji Era.

Entrepreneurs that enriched the daily lives of the whole population via daily necessities before the WWII

The second zone is lined with portraits and panels depicting those entrepreneurs that enriched the daily lives of the common people through various daily necessities and practical merchandise that made life easier. Here you can learn more about the individuals behind major rail companies like Keihan and Hanshin, major breweries and distilleries like Asahi or Suntory, major newspaper companies and printing companies including Asahi and Mainichi, world-renowned cosmetics producers, stationery makers, entertainment agencies and movie studios and much more.
Especially the major rail companies and newspaper agencies were instrumental in connecting Japan, either by providing an accessible transportation network spanning across the whole country, or by providing up to date information to the general population.
Gastronomy, stationery, engineering, contracting, agricultural technology all saw vast advances becoming more efficient and recognized as indispensable in daily lives of the population. Imagining how difficult our lives would be if these industries were to suddenly disappear is really easy in the museum and definitely puts things into perspective. In the present day it may be extremely difficult to create a new business from scratch, but offering tips and hints to those who dare try is precisely what the museum is intended for.

Pioneers of household appliances and advances in logistics

The third section is dedicated to the entrepreneurs of the post-war era, where the main focus shifted toward everything that would make the daily life of the population more comfortable and convenient. This era saw a massive advancement both in logistics and distribution, but also in the development of household appliances - both of which supported the Japanese economy throughout the late 20th century. Among the featured entrepreneurs you can find the founders of such important corporations as Osaka Electric or Osaka Gas, Nisshin, Sanyo, Daiei, Sharp, Panasonic, Daikin and many more. These businessmen strived not only to return optimism to the Japanese after the war, but also to make the daily lives of the common people more comfortable and enjoyable. Their legacy still holds true, as many of these companies are at the forefront of technological advances in their respective fields due to their constant efforts in research and development.
The wish for their own household equipped with state of the art appliances became a strong stimulus for the post-war population and became a driving force that led Japan from the economic slump into modern Japan as we know it today. The lessons we can learn from these businessmen who managed to survive and overcome immense hardships in a turbulent era are many and of great value. For those who would like to deepen their knowledge, there are periodic special exhibitions highlighting specific entrepreneurs and their successes.

Human Resource Development Project

The museum offers more than just the exhibits, as it periodically holds seminars and workshops aimed toward human resources development. Since the venue falls under the Osaka Chamber of Commerce, the workshops held here are focused on all aspects of business, from top executive and management to marketing, operations, resource management and more. All of the seminars focus on aspects which are indispensable in modern day Japan and are highly recommended, whether as a whole or focused only on the areas you may think you are lacking. The facility comes equipped with many videos with and about the many entrepreneurs commemorated in it, offering not just valuable information but also a great deal of motivation and inspiration. Even those who might not be interested in the world of business per se will surely enjoy a day at this museum.

In the vicinity

There is no shortage of famous spots in the vicinity of the museum, for example the Namba Grounds Kagetsu Theater, Semba Center Building, Dotonbori street, Shinsaibashi-suji shopping arcade, Midosuji, American Village, Osaka Castle Park, Osaka Castle Hall, Osaka Takashimaya, or Daimaru to name a few.
The Namba Grounds Kagetsu Theater is the main venue of the Yoshimoto Kogyo agency, featuring many famous standup comedians and Rakugo masters. It is also home to the Yoshimoto Shinkigeki, the number one Japanese comedy troupe theater group. There are also refreshment, souvenirs and even experience programs available here for those who would like to enjoy the venue in a bit of a different way.
Semba Center Building on the other hand is a popular shopping facility that is directly connected to three major subway lines. Even though there are restaurants and cafes available here, the main focus of the mall is on everything fashion. The total number of shops in the spacious mall spanning between Sakaisuji and Midosuji is over 1000 and its special sales campaigns with extreme discounts are ever so popular. Rummaging through various interesting wares whilst looking for an extra bargain is all part of the fun!
Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi-suji, Midosuji and American Village are all famous tourist spots that hardly need an introduction. In this area you will find the iconic Glico Running Man board, the Don-Quixote Ferris Wheel, the animatronic Kuidaore-Taro or the Kani Doraku crab statues along with many famous shops and restaurants. The Osaka Castle Park is home to the Osaka Castle, Osaka Castle Hall, multiple sports fields and even a ferris wheel, offering everything you could ever need to spend a full day of fun here. Takashimaya is the most representative shopping mall of the Minami area, with the newest clothes, cosmetics and other fashion products all under one roof. If you would like to check out what’s hot and trendy, Takashimaya is your place to go. Alternatively you could opt for the Shinsaibashi Daimaru store, known for its luxurious classical architecture and excellent access via direct connection to the Shinsaibashi subway station.

<Venue Information>

Venue Name: Osaka Museum of Entrepreneurs
Business Hours: 10:00 - 17:00 Wed: 10:00 - 20:00
Regular Closing Days: Sun & Mon
Phone Number: 06-4964-7601
Address: 〒541-0053 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Honmachi, 1-chome 4-5
Access: 5 minutes from Sakaisuji Honmachi station on the Sakaisuji Line

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