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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 there, on the Pacific Ocean, completely empty and devoid of souls. What is the story behind this island, you ask? Also Read - Photos of Osaka That Will Make You Want to Visit the Warm Port City

Gunkanjima, also called Hashima or Battleship island, was once rich in coal

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Mitsubishi Corporation realized the potential of this island and began developing it in the early 1900s

Abandoned Gunkanjima island in Japan

Over the next century, Gunkanjima grew and the coal mine got deeper, eventually reaching beyond the seabed itself

Abandoned island of Gunkanjima, Nagasaki, Japan (2)

By 1941, this tiny little island supplied 400,000 tons of coal to Japan at the cost of forced laborers

Abandoned island of Gunkanjima, Nagasaki, Japan

The island itself became a self-contained world, with schools, restaurants and apartments crammed within the seawall

Abandoned island of Gunkanjima, Nagasaki, Japan (3)

Nearly 6,000 people lived at one point here, the highest population density in the world ever

battleship island(aliashashijima island) in nagasaki,japan

In Japan, it became known as ‘Midori nashi Shima’, or the island with no greenery

Ghost town on an abandoned island called Gunkanjima and also Hashima near Nagasaki

Eventually, however, the mine ran out of coal, and Mitsubishi could dig no more

Mitsukejima Island, known as Gunkanjima Island in Ishikawa, Japa

With nothing left in the mine, there was nothing left on 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.