I know what most of you are thinking, how is this a wonder of the world? Well the stereotypical view of wonders are the famous Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China and so on. However, to me, a wonder is something that inspires feelings of surprise, astonishment and basically captivates you to want to learn more.
I first came across the existence of this abandoned city after watching History Channel’s Life After People, episode “The Bodies Left Behind”. Being one of many abandoned islands in Japan, the Hashima Island (also known as the Battleship Island or Ghost Island) is located just under 10 miles from Nagasaki, fetching its name from its resemblance to that of a Japanese Battleship. The island was a coal-mining facility, populated from 1887 to 1974, with distinctive and notable features including a large concrete sea wall surrounding the island. From the pictures below you can see that it seems as though everyone left in a hurry – possessions still left behind, dolls, clothes, utensils and many more.
The question is why? Well, in 1974, petroleum came in place of coal resulting in the mines being shut down. The now jobless workers were forced to leave; in a matter of days the island was deserted, left exactly as it was, to wither away as time settled in. Now open to the public as a tourist destination in certain areas, it’s still illegal to go into some areas of the island, especially the areas which have the infamous “Staircase to Hell”, given its name because it was said to tire you out beyond belief by the time you reached the top.
However, battleship island was and in most places still is a death-trap; falling debris of concrete apartments, instability in ceilings and flooring, ground littered with glass and many more. All a result of it being abandoned. I’ll leave this post on a bit of trivia; this island inspired the lair of the villain Rauol Silva in James Bond film Skyfall.
Please take a look at the work of Michael Gakuran (link below), his exploration of the island is amazing, with some compelling images.