Osaka University, or Handai (阪大), is the sixth oldest university in Japan and has remained an academic hub in the greater Kansai metropolis since its inception. Originally chartered as a medical school, it had branched out into a strong scientifically oriented institution, and now contains one of the largest and most well-rounded campuses in the nation.
1. Taketsuru Masataka
Born to a family of sake brewers, Taketsuru’s curiosity for whisky would impel him to leave Japan and enroll in the University of Glasgow to study organic chemistry. There in Scotland, he apprenticed at several distilleries until returning to Japan, and eventually founding Nikka Whisky in Hokkaido.
2. Morita Akio
After graduating from Osaka Imperial University with a degree in physics, Morita joined the military where he met his future business partner, Ibuka Masaru. Soon after the war, Morita would join Ibuka in the company that would later be renamed as Sony. Morita’s communication-friendly approach to business management would help propel the company to where it is today.
3. Tezuka Osamu
Tezuka Osamu, labeled either the ‘father’ or ‘godfather’ of manga, originally simply a local cartoonist in one of Osaka’s newspapers. His claim to fame came in the 1950’s with Astroboy, whose legacy has connected him with that of the likes of Walt Disney. The large, sparkling eyes of his works have still clearly influenced cartoonists of Japan today.
4. Kumon Toru
For those who have had the pleasure of the joys of Kumon, the namesake and founder, Kumon Toru, went to Osaka University and studied mathematics. The story goes that he helped his struggling son with math. He wasn’t satisfied with his son’s textbooks. and so he created his own math problems. Eventually his son not only excelled but was outpacing the other students of his class by years. Other parents wished to get in on the secret, and thus Kumon was born.
5. Takami Koushun
The author of the famous Battle Royale, Takami Koushun, graduated from Osaka University with a degree in literature. After graduating, he worked for a newspaper company whilst writing Battle Royale. In 1997 he submitted his work to the Japan Grand Prix Horror Novel competition where judges were appalled by the adolescent violence, yet once the book was published in ’99 it was extremely popular among the youth.
Cover Photo: Osaka Campus.