This year, Osaka is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the opening of its port to the outside world. Numerous events, lectures and symposiums on how Osaka developed from 1868 to the present have taken place or are planned between now and early next year.

Many of them focus on the engineering and technical skills needed to transform the port into a modern international hub, or how expanded trade benefited Osaka and Japan. But one aspect of the port's history seems to have been forgotten and almost hidden, possibly because it's viewed historically as a major business and diplomatic failure: the Osaka Foreign Settlement.

Compared with the better-known Kobe Foreign Settlement — where 150th anniversary celebrations include an exhibition at Kobe city museum on the foreign settlement's contribution to Japan — Osaka appears less interested in letting the world know that between 1868 and 1899 it, too, had a foreign concession where Western merchants and Christian missionaries lived and worked.