Japan’s Abandoned Hashima Island

Japan's Abandoned Hashima Island

About 15 kilometres (9 miles) from Nagasaki’s city centre sits the tiny, deserted island of Hashima.

The island’s uninhabited concrete houses, which have only been disturbed by nature, and the surrounding sea wall are its most distinctive features.

The island serves as a reminder of Japanese war crimes as a site of forced labour both before and during the Second World War, as well as a symbol of the country’s quick industrialisation.

Island had submerged coal mines that had been operating since 1887.

In 1959, the island’s population peaked at 5,259 people.

The mine was shut down in 1974 when the island’s coal reserves were getting low, and the occupants quickly left. For the next three decades, the island was essentially abandoned.

The tourist season in Hashima resumed on April 22, 2009.

In July 2015, the island’s coal mine received official approval to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hashima Island’s Japanese moniker is translated to Battleship Island in English.

Mitsubishi controlled the island until 2002. The island is currently under the administration of Nagasaki City.

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