Hashima Island World Heritage Site

Abandoned island lying about 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the city of Nagasaki, in southern Japan. Abandoned concrete buildings and the surrounding sea wall.

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Hashima
Native name:
軍艦島(端島)

Nickname: Battleship Island
Battle-Ship Island Nagasaki Japan.jpg
Aerial view
Nagasaki Hashima location map.png
Geography
LocationNortheast Asia
Area0.063 km2 (0.024 sq mi)
Area ranknone
Administration
Prefecture Nagasaki
City Nagasaki
Demographics
Population0 (2016)
(videos) Various views from the ocean and from on the island, 2016

Hashima Island (端島, or simply Hashima, as -shima is a Japanese suffix for island), commonly called Gunkanjima (軍艦島; meaning Battleship Island), is an abandoned island of Nagasaki, lying about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the center of the city. It is one of 505 uninhabited islands in Nagasaki Prefecture. The island's most notable features are its abandoned concrete buildings, undisturbed except by nature, and the surrounding sea wall. While the island is a symbol of the rapid industrialization of Japan, it is also a reminder of Japanese war crimes as a site of forced labour prior to and during the Second World War.[1][2]

The 6.3-hectare (16-acre) island was known for its undersea coal mines, established in 1887, which operated during the industrialization of Japan. The island reached a peak population of 5,259 in 1959. In 1974, with the coal reserves nearing depletion, the mine was closed and all of the residents departed soon after, leaving the island effectively abandoned for the following three decades. Interest in the island re-emerged in the 2000s on account of its undisturbed historic ruins, and it gradually became a tourist attraction. Certain collapsed exterior walls have since been restored, and travel to Hashima was re-opened to tourists on April 22, 2009. Increasing interest in the island resulted in an initiative for its protection as a site of industrial heritage.

The coal mine of the island was formally approved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2015, as part of Japan's Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining.[3][4]


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