Gunkanjima: the ghost island / 軍艦島:ゴーストアイランド

Gunkanjima is a place I knew long before coming to Japan and it’s a perfect example of blatant capitalism. Everything will work out till its rentable. From the end of the 19th century to the 70s, the island was used for coal extraction, bringing tons of people there with their families. During the 60s, Gunkanjima had its peak of population, reaching the astonishing 139,100 people/km² all crowded in that small island. School, Hospital, Cinemas, Izakayas, Prostitutes… everything you may need was there. Of course, the workers were compensated for having to live in that kind of prison with really good wages (not strange in the mining business) which allowed them to buy the first TVs in Japan and enjoy quite a lot of different luxuries to make their stay there more comfortable.

By the 70s coal wasn’t needed by almost anybody, which contributed to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ decision to close it and move to more profitable business. The legend was born.

From then, tons of people accessed the island for either vandalizing it, trying to be cool or just simply take pictures.



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