Photos of Gunkanjima Island in Japan That Showcase Its Desolate Beauty
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the small island of Gunkanjima is also called Hashima or Battleship island.
| Published: October 31, 2017 10:33 PM IST
Published: October 31, 2017 10:33 PM IST | Updated: October 31, 2017 10:33 PM IST
Lying just off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, the little island of Gunkanjima first seems like the fortified home of ghosts. Surrounded by walls and with blocks of buildings close to each other, Gunkanjima is like a city in itself, save for the fact that it has no inhabitants; not a single one. For more than four decades, the island and its constructions have lied their, on the Pacific Ocean, completely empty and devoid of souls. What is the story behind this island, you ask? ALSO READ: 5 Things to See at Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park in Japan
Gunkanjima, also called Hashima or Battleship island, was once rich in coal
Mitsubishi Corporation realized the potential of this island and began developing it in the early 1900s
Over the next century, Gunkanjima grew and the coal mine got deeper, eventually reaching beyond the seabed itself
By 1941, this tiny little island supplied 400,000 tons of coal to Japan at the cost of forced laborers
The island itself became a self-contained world, with schools, restaurants and apartments crammed within the seawall
Nearly 6,000 people lived at one point here, the highest population density in the world ever
In Japan, it became known as ‘Midori nashi Shima’, or the island with no greenery
Eventually, however, the mine ran out of coal, and Mitsubishi could dig no more
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With nothing left in the mine, there was nothing left in the island. The people left, but the island stood and so did its buildings and the memories. Time, and nature, slowly took over. The island with no greenery started to see green as the brown and grey buildings crumbled and fell. Since 2009, visitors have been touring this city that slowly turned back into an island.