Glico Man in Dōtonbori (道頓堀) in Osaka, Japan. Originally installed in 1935, the giant neon athlete on a blue track is a symbol of Glico candy. The sign has been altered on several occasions to celebrate events such as the World Cup and to show support for the Osaka baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers.
Dōtonbori, one of the principal tourist destinations in Osaka, is a single street, running alongside the Dōtonbori canal between the Dōtonboribashi Bridge and the Nipponbashi Bridge in the Namba ward of Osaka. A former pleasure district, Dōtonbori is famous for its historic theaters (all gone now), its shops and restaurants, and its many neon and mechanized signs, including snack/candy manufacturer Glico's giant electronic display of a runner crossing the finish line.
The character of Dōtonbori became defined in 1621 when the newly minted Tokugawa Shogunate instituted urban planning, designating Dōtonbori as the entertainment district of Osaka. By 1662 the avenue boasted six Kabuki theaters and five Bunraku theaters, as well as the unique Takeda Karakuri mechanical puppet theater. Many restaurants and cafes were built to cater to the flood of tourists and entertainment-seekers pouring nightly into Dōtonbori.
Over the years, declining interest in traditional forms of entertainment led to the closing of most of Dōtonbori's original attractions. Its five remaining theaters were bombed and destroyed during World War II.