Google Maps Street View: Creepy Japanese island is completely abandoned – why?

Google Maps Street View has photographed a very creepy island off the coast of Japan. Gunkanjima Island is a mass of ruined buildings in various states of disrepair and collapse. The fortress-like island is also known as “Hashima” or “Battleship Island.” Just off the coast of Nagasaki, it has been abandoned for nearly 40 years – so what happened to this place?

Hashima Island was once a densely populated mining town which was developed by the Mitsubishi Corporation in the early 1900s.

The area was rich with coal and the mind grew deeper and longer over the ensuing century.

It produced 400,000 tonnes of coal per year by 1941, according to Atlas Obscura, despite the island being under one sure kilometre in area.

A city grew up around the mine, with Hashima once boasting ten-storey apartments complexes, schools, restaurant and gaming houses.

Surround by a seawall, the island became known as “Midori nashi Shima,” the island without green, reported Atlas Obscura.

The island hides a dark history, however. Korean conscripted civilians and Chinese prisoners of war were forced to work at the Mitsubishi factory.

It is estimated that 1,300 labourers died on the island due to factors such as malnutrition and exhaustion.

The mine flourished to the extent that by the mid-1950s there were almost six thousand people living there.

This gave the island the highest population density to ever be found on the planet.

The fate of Hashima was sealed, however, when the coal began to run out.

Mitsubishi Corporation closed the mine and everybody left, abandoning the island.

Today nobody lives there and it remains exactly as it was left after the exodus.

Hashima Island was closed to all visitors from 1974 to 2009 as it was deemed too unsafe.

It has since been re-opened to organised tours and was approved for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list on July 5, 2015.

Eagle-eyed viewers might recognise the site from the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, where it served as the setting for the villain’s lair.

Google mapped the island in 2103 by sending an employee there with a backpack to capture this unique area property.

Sometimes Google Maps captures locations that have been completely hidden from view – such as this mysterious island in French Polynesia


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.