On Independent States│8│

Table of Contents

The 2015 referendum on the Osaka Metropolis Plan included many themes related to “independent states,” such as populism, inter-generational struggles, and the opposition between metropoles and peripheries. Osaka has many of the sufficient “conditions” for an independent state, including an ample population and a sound economic foundation. Despite this, in reality, any notions of an independent Osaka have been treated as nothing more than a joke.

However, several novels have included an independent Osaka. For example, Manabu Makime’s Princess Toyotomi is a comedic novel set in a fictional independent state called “Osakakoku,” which had been originally established to protect the descendants of the Toyotomi clan from the Tokugawa bakufu. Four hundred years later, however, Osakakoku is a country without a clear leader yet functions through a sort of “ambiguity.”

Toshihiko Yahagi’s A JA PAN! depicts an independent state called “Dai Nihonkoku,” which was established in west Japan with Osaka as its capital after the country was divided in two following the Second World War. In the novel, the GHQ comes to occupy the Osaka Castle, but withdraws after only three weeks, aghast at the informal atmosphere.

Both these novels depict an Osaka that has persevered as an independent state despite lacking a strong leader. Osaka’s characteristic spurning of strong leaders could also be seen in the slim rejection of the “reforms” highlighted in the Osaka Metropolis Plan.