Appreciating structures and landmarks is a favorite pastime of many. However, the world is full of places that have been long forgotten about and left to decay.
Ghost towns provoke interest and allure, but there is also abandoned architecture at sea, floating alone and deteriorating slowly with each ebb and flow.
One island that was inhabited and developed in the 1890’s housed a productive coal mine and the workers who toiled there.
Hashima Island, also known as Gunkanjima or Battleship Island, was established by the Mitsubishi Corporation as an undersea mining operation. Since the spot of land contained a massive underwater bed of coal deposits, the company saw it as a potential profit maker.
The fort-like island was constructed with typhoon resistant features and robust concrete architecture. But as with many left and forgotten edifices, the secrets of its past industriousness still linger.
In the early 1940’s, the island’s workers were annually producing tons of coal that numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Reportedly, many had been forced to work as slave laborers.
Located near Nagasaki’s coastline, it soon became known as midori nashi shima, which translates as island without green.
When production ceased, the once densely overpopulated 16 acres of concrete with its more than 5,000 inhabitants became completely abandoned. No one has lived among the seawall enclosure since 1974.
Now the watery expanse is among the decaying structures that have been built up, only to be left by man to break back down.
Often the focus is on current architecture and construction, but structures from the past serve as historical reminders – not only of the time period’s usage of building and design, but also of the people who brought them to life.
There are occasionally tours of the isolated island offered, but you can take a peek anytime online at Hashima Island: A Forgotten World.
A project by Bryan James Design, Google Street View makes peering around the crumbling and ghostly place possible.
Warning…it’s a little creepy.
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