Left to fester, this ghostly Japanese island is Hashima (端島), more commonly known as Gunkanjima (軍艦島) or “Battleship Island”. Located off the coast of Nagasaki, Mitsubishi used Hashima for coal mining and the island was once the most populated place on Earth.
Countless life perished here during WW2, as Korean and Chinese prisoners were forced to work under terrible conditions. Suh Jung-woo, a Korean survivor, describes his experience:
The mine was deep under the sea, the workers reaching it by elevator down a long narrow shaft. The coal was carried out from a spacious underground chamber, but the digging places were so small that we had to crouch down to work. It was excruciating, exhausting labor. Gas collected in the tunnels, and the rock ceilings and walls threatened to collapse at any minute. I was convinced that I would never leave the island alive.
Abandoned since 1974 after the coal ran out, this old mining island was reopened in 2009 as a grim tourist attraction. Hashima became increasingly popular after its appearance in the James Bond movie, Skyfall. The island is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to the efforts of a former resident – Doutoku Sakamoto.
Jordy Meow has 10 well-written articles and striking photographs to document his visit. The island may be in a state of decay and exudes an air of despair and gloom, but those seeking a different type of adventure will find it fascinating.
Stairway to Hell
A seemingly never-ending staircase that leads to countless apartments built to house the large population of miners and their families.
Those who have watched “Skyfall” would have seen this iconic U-shaped building in the movie.
Can you imagine what life was like on the once bustling island?
Eerily beautiful, the ruins at night act as a resounding end to this unusual destination.
- Enter “The Forgotten World” with this amazing interactive website by Bryan James.
- A short documentary of Hashima by Thomas Nordanstad (with English subtitles).