If you have been to the cinema to see the new James Bond 007 Skyfall you will be impressed, among other things, the eerie deserted island where the encounter between James and the villain occurs. A sort of Alcatraz, an island surrounded by a high concrete wall and full of dilapidated abandoned buildings. A place too weird and bad to be true. The island is isolated and that makes it hard to visit unless your financial profile is so good and can afford it although there is not much to see there except from ruins.
The Battleship island
In fact, this is not a scene reconstructed (at least not entirely). The islet is called Gunkanjima and is located in Japan 20 kilometers from Nagasaki. Its history is interesting. The complex was created in the early 1900 by Mitsubishi Corporation to take advantage of existing coal mines underwater. But it was not until the Second World War: in 1941 that 400 thousand tons of coal were extracted by exploiting the labor of prisoners of war in Korea.
Around the mines were built buildings, restaurants, schools and leisure activities surrounded by a concrete wall to prevent the sea from coming right into the structures and mines. The island gained its name from nashi Midori Shima “the island without green plants” since in fact there were very few. While there were a lot of people since the mid 70s, 6 thousand people lived there, ensuring the highest population density in the world.
Then the coal mines were closed, the island city was abandoned and turned into a ghost island which for 50 years has remained immovable and immutable. Except for plants that finally were able to develop and grow freely. From 1974 to 2009 Gunkanjima (whose nickname was Hashima) was closed to the public but has now come back for visitors and there are tourist tours happening. In the meantime it has been asked to becomea UNESCO World Heritage site.
Travel photos: Jordy Meow, Rickard Hackanson, Bjorne Hoff, Dead Man.