HASHIMA ISLAND (端島, or simply HASHIMA — -shima is a Japanese
suffix for island), commonly called GUNKANJIMA (軍艦島; meaning
BATTLESHIP ISLAND), is an abandoned island lying about 15 kilometers
(9 miles) from the city of
The 6.3-hectare (16-acre) island was known for its undersea coal mines , established in 1887, which operated during the industrialization of Japan. The island reached a peak population of 5,259 in 1959. In 1974, with the coal reserves nearing depletion, the mine was closed and all of the residents departed soon after, leaving the island effectively abandoned for the following three decades. Interest in the island re-emerged in the 2000s on account of its undisturbed historic ruins, and it gradually became a tourist attraction of a sort. Certain collapsed exterior walls have since been restored, and travel to Hashima was re-opened to tourists on April 22, 2009. Increasing interest in the island resulted in an initiative for its protection as a site of industrial heritage.
* 1 Etymology * 2 History * 3 Current status
* 4 Controversies
* 4.1 World Heritage Site approval controversy
* 5 Access * 6 Media * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links
Battleship Island is an English translation of the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island, Gunkanjima (gunkan meaning battleship, jima being the rendaku form of shima, meaning island). The island's nickname came from its resemblance to the Japanese battleship Tosa .
An apartment block on the island, circa 1930 Hashima
Meiji-era, antique hand-tinted postcard of
In 1916 the company built Japan's first large reinforced concrete building (a 7 floor miner's apartment block), to accommodate their burgeoning ranks of workers. Concrete was specifically used to protect against typhoon destruction. Over the next 55 years, more buildings were constructed, including apartment blocks, a school, kindergarten, hospital, town hall, and a community centre. For entertainment, a clubhouse, cinema, communal bath, swimming pool, rooftop gardens, shops, and a pachinko parlour were built for the miners and their families.
Beginning in the 1930s and until the end of the Second World War,
Korean conscripted civilians and Chinese prisoners of war were forced
to work under very harsh conditions and brutal treatment at the
In 1959, the 6.3-hectare (16-acre) island's population reached its peak of 5,259, with a population density of 835 people per hectare (83,500 people/km2, 216,264 people per square mile) for the whole island, or 1,391 per hectare (139,100 people/km2) for the residential district.
As petroleum replaced coal in
Ruins of the mine, 2011
The island was owned by
It was estimated that landing of tourists would only be feasible for fewer than 160 days per year because of the area's harsh weather. For reasons of cost-effectiveness the city considered cancelling plans to extend the visitor walkway further — for an approximate 300 metres (984 feet) toward the eastern part of the island and approximately 190 meters (623 feet) toward the western part of the island — after 2009. A small portion of the island was finally reopened for tourism in 2009, but more than 95% of the island is strictly delineated as off-limits during tours. A full reopening of the island would require substantial investment in safety, and detract from the historical state of the aged buildings on the property.
The island is increasingly gaining international attention not only
generally for its modern regional heritage, but also for the
undisturbed housing complex remnants representative of the period from
WORLD HERITAGE SITE APPROVAL CONTROVERSY
Japan's 2009 request to include Hashima Island, along with 22 other
industrial sites, in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list was initially
opposed by South Korean authorities on the grounds that Korean and
Chinese forced laborers were used on the island prior to and during
World War II
A week before the beginning of the 39th UNESCO World Heritage
Committee (WHC) meeting in Bonn, Germany, Korea and
In July 2015, during the WHC meeting, South Korea withdrew its
opposition after Japan's acknowledgement of this issue as part of the
history of the island, specifically noting that "there were a large
number of Koreans and others who were brought against their will and
forced to work under harsh conditions in the 1940s at some of the
sites " and that
On the same day, immediately after the UNESCO WHC meeting, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida publicly announced that "the remarks by the Japanese government representative did not mean 'forced labor '".
A monitoring mechanism for the implementation of 'the measures to
remember the victims' was set up by the World Heritage Committee and
it will be assessed during the World Heritage Committee Session in
2018. The official tourism website and tour program for the island
Sightseeing on the island, August 2010
When people resided on the island, the Nomo Shosen line served the
Since 2009 the island has been open once again for public visits.
Sightseeing boat trips around or to the island are currently provided
by five operators; Gunkanjima Concierge, Gunkanjima Cruise Co., Ltd.,
Yamasa-Kaiun, and Takashima Kaijou from
In 2002, Swedish filmmaker Thomas Nordanstad visited the island with a Japanese man named Dotokou, who grew up on Hashima. Nordanstad documented the trip in a film called Hashima, Japan, 2002.
During the 2009 Mexican photography festival FotoSeptiembre, Mexican photographers Guillaume Corpart Muller and Jan Smith, along with Venezuelan photographer Ragnar Chacin, showcased images from the island in the exhibition "Pop. Density 5,000/km2". The exhibition traced urban density and the rise and fall of cities around the world.
In 2009 the island was featured in History Channel 's Life After People , first-season episode "The Bodies Left Behind" as an example of the decay of concrete buildings after only 35 years of abandonment.
The island was again featured in 2011 in episode six of a 3D production for 3net , Forgotten Planet discussing the island's current state, history and unauthorized photo shoots by urban explorers. The Japanese Cultural Institute in Mexico used the images of Corpart Muller and Smith in the photography exhibition "Fantasmas de Gunkanjima", organized by Daniela Rubio, as part of the celebrations surrounding 200 years of diplomacy between Mexico and Japan.
More recently in 2015, the island was featured in the fourth episode of the Science channel's series "What On Earth." Discussed were the island's history and it being the most densely populated place on the planet at one time, and included satellite images and a tour of many of the buildings.
The island has appeared in a number of recent feature films. External
shots of the island were used in the 2012 James Bond film
In 2017, a south Korean period action film about Korean forced laborers attempting to escape the island was released under the title, The Battleship Island . Although the film is a fictional account, the film depicted the plight of Korean slave laborers on Hashima Island during World War II. The film drew 970,517 viewers and opened on record breaking 2,027 theaters in South Korea.
* ^ A B "Battleship island – a symbol of Japan\'s progress or
reminder of its dark history?". The Guardian. 2015-07-03. Retrieved
* ^ "Dark history: A visit to Japan\'s creepiest island". CNN.
2013-06-13. Retrieved 2015-09-17.
* ^ whc.unesco.org
* ^ Kawamoto, Yashuhiko. "Deserted \'Battleship Isle\' may become
heritage ghost ship," The