Gunkanjima   軍艦島

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Gunkanjima

The concrete graveyard

Among the recently proposed world heritage sites of UNESCO by Japan is the impressive island of Gunkanjima. A unique, and somewhat disturbing landscape.

You've probably already seen this unusual setting, it was used in the latest James Bond movie. Ghost town, deserted island, a concrete ship lost in the ocean - all these adjectives can be used to describe Gunkanjima.

The island-mine

Originally, the small island of Hashima, 20 kilometers south of Nagasaki, developed around a coal mine in the late nineteenth century. Away from the archipelago, the miners and their families lived on-site, in ultramodern concrete blocks meant to represent the ideal of a balanced community. Barely 6.3 hectares, the island was the most densely populated in the world at the time.

The deserted island

From 1974, this pretty picture faded with the closure of the mine and the rapid desertion of the island. The place was completely abandoned, and gradually turned into this gray citadel worthy of a horror video game.

The island's heritage

The connections were reopened in 2009 with amenities for tourism, and the island now hosts a limited number of visitors per day on established tour routes only, as the whole island isn't fully secure. It also attracts many filmmakers like Sam Mendes and Christopher Nolan, and will be part of the live adaptation of the manga Attack on Titan.

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