These days the only things that land on Hashima Island are the shits of passing seagulls. An hour or so’s sail from the port of Nagasaki, the abandoned island silently crumbles. A former coal mining facility owned by Mitsubishi Motors, it was once the most densely populated place on earth, packing over 13,000 people into each square kilometre of its residential high-risers. It operated from 1887 until 1974, after which the coal industry fell into decline and the mines were shut for good. With their jobs gone and no other reason to stay in this mini urban nightmare, almost overnight the entire population fled back to the mainland, leaving most of their stuff behind to rot.
Today it is illegal to go anywhere near the place as it’s beyond restoration and totally unsafe. 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.
The punishment for being caught visiting Hashima Island is 30 days in prison followed by immediate deportation. But the other week, after getting up before sunrise and cutting a secret deal with a local fisherman, some friends and I landed on Hashima Island.
Vice: Battleship Island – Japan’s rotting metropolis
(via The Agitator)