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Gunkanjima Island

Gunkanjima Island

Gunkanjima Island is located about 9 miles away from the port of Nagasaki. For a long time the small island served as a coal mine where over 5000 residents lived until 1974.

Gunkanjima Island was once a thriving coal mine with over 5000 residents living on the battleship shaped island until 1974. It is located 9 miles away from the port of Nagasaki and can only be reached by boat. The formal name of the island is Hashima, but the nickname Gunkanjima, which means Battleship Island, is more popularly known. It had the highest population density in the world before the mine was closed off. In 2015 Gunkanjima Island was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with many other places that were important during the Meiji Industrial Revolution.

Coal was first found on Gunkanjima back in 1810 by a feudal lord of Saga. Industrial mining did not happen until the late 1800s. This happened during the beginning stages of the Meiji Period (1868-1912) and the island was later bought by the Mitsubishi Corporation. As production increased so did the development on the island. At one time there was a hospital, industrial buildings, schools, restaurants, residential complexes, and many more. After Gunkanjima was abandoned it became directly exposed to typhoons, which led to the deterioration of the buildings. For many years it was closed off to the public until 2009 when a boat dock was built.

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