Kobe (kō´bā), city (1990 pop. 1,477,410), capital of Hyogo prefecture, S Honshu, Japan, on Osaka Bay. One of the leading Japanese ports, it is also a major industrial center and railway hub. It is part of a transportation network, which includes express trains and highways, that links it to Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya. It has shipbuilding yards, vehicle factories, iron and steel mills, sugar refineries, and chemical, rubber, and food-processing plants. A cultural center, Kobe has several colleges and universities and many temples and shrines. Since 1878 the city has included Hyogo (formerly Hiogo), an ancient port that was prominent during the Ashikaga period (14th–16th cent.) and regained importance after it was reopened to foreign trade in 1868. Kobe was heavily bombed during World War II but was rebuilt and enlarged, with much commercial building taking place on landfill in Osaka Bay. In Jan., 1995, Kobe suffered a devastating earthquake that killed more than 6,400 people. Much of the port was destroyed; total damages were estimated at over $100 billion.
KOBE , port on Osaka Bay, Japan. Before World War i a small number of Jews, mainly from the Middle East and Europe, carried on their business activities in Kobe; the Jewish community increased slightly with the advent of refugees from the Bolshevik Revolution. The Sephardi and Ashkenazi congregations in Kobe maintained synagogues and a community center. With the rise of Nazism in Europe, and particularly after the outbreak of World War ii, hundreds of Jews from Eastern Europe fled across Siberia to Japan, which served as a transit point for their journeys to more or less permanent homes elsewhere. Many of them made their way to Kobe in 1940–41 where they were given emergency assistance by the local Jewish community, Jewish international relief organizations, and some sympathetic Japanese. Notable among the refugees who passed through Kobe at this time were teachers and students from the famous *Mir yeshivah in Lithuania who, lacking the necessary visas, were sent on to Shanghai. After World War ii, a small Jewish community, augmented at times by American and European businessmen and professionals, continued to live in Kobe.
A. Kotsuji, From Tokyo to Jerusalem (1964), 159–67.