Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tsūtenkaku 通天閣

Tsūtenkaku (103 m), or Tower Reaching Heaven, is a well-known landmark of Ōsaka. The current tower is actually the second to occupy the site, the original was patterned after the Eiffel Tower - however the government dismantled the tower in 1943 believing that it would serve as a reference point for American bombing raids. In 1956 the current tower was completed and soon became associated with the statue of Billiken, which is a popular symbol of good luck (seen in gold in the right corner). The Billiken was a charm doll created by an American art teacher and illustrator Florence Pretz who is said to have seen the mysterious figure in a dream. Today, the Billiken is also the official mascot of Saint Louis University, Missouri being Pretz's home town.

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