Monday, March 13, 2006

Japan's "gunboat island"

Located off the coast of Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture is the island of Hashima, nicknamed "Gunboat Island" (Gunkanjima) because of its shape. The island has been uninhabited since 1974, when the coal mine there—the island's economic mainstay—was shut down.

Seen from a distance, Hashima Island might be mistaken for the Japanese counterpart of Alcatraz rising from the ocean like a ragged slab of concrete, or perhaps a gambling resort with deserted hotels. Few casual observers would ever guess that, only 40 years ago, this tiny island was the site of a thriving community with the highest population density on earth.

Read the rest of this article here. There's a map here. Here's one photo gallery. And another gallery.

—Mellow Monk

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