Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Abandoned ISLAND in JAPAN. Hashima Island.

Hashima Island

Today Hashima Island looks like a big sad battleship. About an hour sail from the port of Nagasaki, the deserted island silently dies. There was a coal mining facility owned by Mitsubishi Motors. It was the most densely populated place on earth - over 13,000 people on one square kilometer of its residential high-risers. It functioned from 1887 until 1974, after which the coal industry fell into decline and the mines were shut forever. So as their jobs gone people didn't have any reason to stay in that mini urban prison, almost overnight the people escaped to the mainland, leaving most of their stuff behind to decay.

 Nowadays it is illegal to go anywhere near the place as it is beyond restoration and very unsafe. The punishment for being caught visiting Hashima Island is 30 days in prison followed by immediate deportation. The Japanese Government aren't keen to draw unwanted attention to this testament to the hardship of the country’s post-war industrial revolution either.

But cutting a secret deal with a local fisherman some group of young people landed on Hashima Island to see the Island with their own eyes and take photos. The port of Nagasaki is an international fare where you’re more likely to find granny-laden cruise ships and large oil tankers filling the docks than buck-toothed fisherman willing to break the law for a few extra bob, so they took the early morning ferry to the still-inhabited Takashima, the closest island to Hashima. After asking around – and being politely turned away by every Japanese they mentioned it to – finally they found their man to take them close enough to see it.

Hashima Island

Personal artifacts lay littered everywhere – old shoes, TV sets, bottles of shampoo, newspapers and even posters left on teenagers’ walls – these were the most vivid clues that people had once been here.


In some areas the entire fronts of buildings had fallen to the ground, revealing grids of homes, each exposed with their 70's television sets smashed after the TV stands had eroded away. It was difficult to gauge exactly what it might have been like to live here, although with the complete lack of outdoors space and the prison-like seawall keeping you in.

The empty classrooms of the island’s huge school. The rusted carcasses of desks and chairs lay in front of blackboards displaying the withered dusty marks of the last class to have taken place there 30 years before.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Why the steep penalty?
Why are the japs so ashamed of this place?
They could sell it to China if they don;t want it ;)

Juddygirl said...

very intriguing

just doing school research said...

it's a tourist attraction nowadays but you can't go everywhere on the island because some of the buildings might collapse.