Junji Takahashi / Marubeni (China) Co., Ltd.
In China—whose GDP became the second largest in the world in 2010—Shanghai has developed into a leading economic city not only in China, but also throughout the world. With a permanent population of over 23 million last year, the city is packed with people, cars, and excitement. Development proceeded at a breakneck pace prior to the Expo, and with large-scale buildings and commercial facilities under construction here and there, you can still experience the continually developing Shanghai. With a great many shops such as European and American retail giants and apparel that have not yet arrived in Japan, the appeal of this city as a market is telling.
The appeal of this city is not limited to its development, of course. The term Old Shanghai is well known, but the variety of old and new faces give depth to the city’s appeal. In terms of the new face of Shanghai, the futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong are renowned. On the opposite bank across the Huangpu River lies a row of beautiful architecture in the area known as the Bund, where you can feel its history as the cornerstone of trade and finance in East Asia that flourished in the late 19th century. The Yu Yuan traditional garden built during the Ming Dynasty is just south of the Bund, and as it is filled with the friendly nostalgic feeling of the traditional commercial neighborhoods akin to Asakusa in Tokyo, it the best attraction in Shanghai. As the new and old culture and history of development in Shanghai coexist in this little area, it numbs your sense of the times.
In addition to this history, the greatest appeal in the city of Shanghai is the point of the fusion of new and old that in turn fills Shanghai with new appeal, and the city is reborn. There is also a residential area made of brick in 1929 that is located in an alley one street back from the principal street, which is likened to Ginza. This residential area is designated as a cultural asset, and while it is being reused for galleries, cafes, and the like, there are still people here who carry on with the traditional way of life. Some residents go for walks in their pajamas beside stylish galleries, as others enjoy playing Shanghai Mahjong. You can feel the potential of this city in this broad mindedness, which avoids simply destroying the old to create the new.
Finally, I would certainly recommend that you take the pleasure cruise on the Huangpu River when you take the opportunity to visit during a good season. You will certainly be fascinated by Shanghai if you take in the fantastic shimmering night view as the night air embraces you on the ship.
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.71(September, 2012)