Martin Greffe

Hashima- July 2013

Hashima or Gunkanjima is an abandoned island we can visit in Japan in Nagasaki.

In 1890, Mitsubishi bought the island for less than 1400$, an important mine is discovered and workers came here to work. In 1916, the first apartment was built in the island, workers and their family are settling. During this period, the island population raises to 5300 persons, the inhabitants density to m2 is 9 time superior from Tokyo at the same time.

In January 1974 the mine is closed and the workers with their family have to leave fast the island, in april of this year, it became a ghost island. Today for some dollars you can visit the unusual island. We call it 'the battleship island', it makes 460 meters by 260, and the vertical architecture recalls battleships.

Only in 2010, Nagasaki makes the island public accessible. Everything is very set and ceremonial, on the boat we're giving to us a pass to access the island, behind the pass a ton of rules, there's a very precise route to follow, always stay in group, barely 1/3 of the island is traversable.

A portal blocks the access to the island, only the guides presents on each boat have a key. Before, a fisherman of Nagasaki brought tourists to the island illegaly untill he gets denounced.

After 30 minutes the visit isover and we're already leaving, everything is well set because a lot of boat companies bring tourists to the island.Today, Japan is trying to bring the island as a World Heritage, for me it would be a bit difficult because of the tourist developing of the island which is for me too small.