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Hashima Island 端島 UNESCO World Heritage

isola hashima

 

Nagasaki's vast archipelago, consisting in more than 500 islands, and one of them have a very special and important historic value for the industrialization of Nagasaki itself: the island of Hashima or Gunkanjima 軍艦 島.

This island was Japan's most important mining center on its surface, measuring 480m. of length for 150m. of width, accommodated more than 5,000 people during the most useful period, which means 1,391 inhabitants for hectare for the only residential area and 835 inhabitants per hectare all over the island, really amazing.

The history of this island dates back to the late 1800s when, once colonized by the Japanese, it started to extract coal from its fields. The thing began to attract a lot of people  that went to work in the mines and this also caused the families of these workers to arrive and soon the mining company is in need of housing all these people, which meanwhile continued to increase.

Thus began a period of intense urbanization of the island, housing buildings were built, but also all that the population needed for its livelihood, shops, bars, cinemas, a hospital, schools, a baseball court, a brothel, a temple , etc. all for almost 60,000m² of built-up area.

 

isola hashima 5

                                           Map of the site of  Hashima 端島

 

In spite of everything, the life on the island was very tough as it did not have the ability to produce the kind of necessity, so it was all bound to the supply by sea and this meant that it waxed the chance to stay for long periods without goods especially food, because the island is in a very turbulent climate with frequent storms that hit the island during the year, for at least 160 days.
During the year the ships loaded with supplies could not catch the stormy sea and this aggravated even more the life of the already hard-working residents.

 

isola hashima 2

                                                                    Lifestyle moment in the island

 

The island, among the various primates that see it as the protagonist, one to be underestimated, was the first city, because virtually so it can be defined, which hosted the first building of Japan built in reinforced concrete, built in 1910.

Another not very enviable primacy, as the island didn't provide the opportunity to produce its food needs, such as fruit and vegetable production due to sterile soil, also reflected on what could be gardens or small parks. The children who were born there had never seen a blossoming cherry tree or picked an apple from the tree, there were no flowers or bushes, even the seasons had no way of being noticed in their change during the year, just because of the lack of trees that could change their colors in changing seasons.

 

isola hashima 3

                                                        Playtime in the school yard

 

The original island at some point was no longer able to accommodate the high concentration of people it was creating, so it decided to expand it, which came into being in six phases since 1893, ending in 1931, during the second World War a large part of the island's male population was called to the front and to replace the missing workforce it was decided to use Chinese and Korean prisoners of war to continue the coal mining work that had a major role for the creating energy for the factories involved during the conflict.

Island decay began in the early 1960s when coal demand began to decline more and more for advent on the oil market, leading inevitably to the slowdown in production resulting in fewer workers being engaged in extraction jobs to arrive in 1973 when the mining pole was definitively closed. It was in that year that the last worker left and since then all the island was abandoned and in the fifty years following the weather agents began their erosion work, until Nagasaki prefecture forbade absolutely go see her just because of her dangers, applying for severe penis transgressors.

 

isola hashima 4

                                    Part of the construction area now in decline

 

In 2009, this ban was removed, thus creating a form of tourism, guided and closed, only certain sectors of the island controlled and secure while all other parts remain off limits to visitors.

Given its historic industrial value, UNESCO declared its World Heritage Site in July 2005, this is also considered to be a kind of recognition for over 200 dead miners during the mining operation.

 

 

 

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