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Gunkanjima Island the ghost town

Hashima Island, commonly called Gunkanjima, is an abandoned island lying about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the city of Nagasaki, in southern Japan. It is one of 505 uninhabited islands in Nagasaki Prefecture. The island's most notable features are its abandoned concrete buildings, undisturbed except by nature, and the surrounding sea wall. While the island is a symbol of the rapid industrialization of Japan, it is also a reminder of its dark history as a site of forced labor prior to and during the Second World War.

The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility. Its most notable features are the abandoned and still mostly-intact concrete apartment buildings, and the surrounding sea wall. The island has been administered as part of Nagasaki city since the merger with the former town of Takashima in 2005. It is known for its coal mines and their operation during the industrialization of Japan. Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 and began extracting coal from undersea mines. In 1916 the company built Japan's first large concrete building (9 storeys tall),[5] a block of apartments to accommodate their burgeoning ranks of workers. Concrete was specifically used to protect against typhoon destruction. 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 Mitsubishi facility as slave laborers under Japanese wartime mobilization policies. 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.[9] As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down across the country, and Hashima's mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974, and today the buildings are empty and the island is unpopulated. Travel to Hashima was re-opened on April 22, 2009, after 35 years of closure.

The island was formally approved as a UNESCO World Heritage site in July 2015, as part of Japan's Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining.

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2016.05.27 19:08 Fri

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