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Where the magnificent Namba Parks stand today at Naniwa-ku, in Osaka, Japan, once stood Osaka’s baseball stadium. Opened in 1950 with a capacity of 32,000 people, the stadium was home to the Nankai Hawks baseball team, but when the Hawks moved to Heiwadai Stadium in 1988, the stadium was sold to Fukuoka City. For the next two years, Osaka Stadium became the temporary home of the Kintetsu Buffaloes, who played about a dozen games here. The last official baseball game was held on August 2, 1990. Despite being a weekday, some 29,000 visitors came to watch the final game.

Long before the stadium was sold to Fukuoka City, it had been decided that the sporting venue had to go as part of the Namba district redevelopment project. But the inevitable was delayed until the late 1990s. During this time, the bowl-shaped stadium continued to function as a venue for baseball—amateur, this time. The National High School Baseball Championship was held here, and as many as 72 games were played during the season.

osaka-stadium-1

A residential neighborhood inside Osaka Stadium. Photo credit: Naoya Hatakeyama, 1998

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