Hashima Island – Most Populated Place on Earth to Abandoned
July 2, 2013
Midori nashi shima seem to be a perfect name for Hashima Island. Literally meaning island without green, Hashima lies abandoned and lonely. The island lies 11 miles off the coast of Nagasaki and was once the most densely populated place on earth. The island was purchased by Mitsubishi in 1890 which established a undersea coal reserve mining facility at this place.
Prospects seemed bright for Hashima island at that point and the first high rise building made from concrete came up in 1916. The building was elegant in the sense that it had nine stories with rows of identical balconies that offered a panoramic view of the surroundings.
A range of other high rise buildings also came up subsequently turning this pristine island into a bustling town. Infact, by 1959 the Hashima island was occupied by around 5,000 coal miners and their families making the island the most densely populated place on earth. The island approximately the size of 12 football fields had over 5,000 miners making it a bustling township.
The residents were however dependent on the mainland for supplies of food and water till 1957. However, at that point too also the Hashima island was self sufficient, when it came to other facilities. Midori nashi shima had all other facilities that any town of similar size could boast of. The place had its own playgrounds, schools, hospital, shops and cinemas. Brothels too operated in this tiny land. However, an interesting fact that needs to be mentioned here is that Hashima island did not have any elevators or motor vehicles. Concrete staircases were the only mode of travel. These were constructed in such a manner so as to connect adjoining buildings, thus making interacting and commuting easy.
Trouble for Hashima island started brewing in 1960 's when Japan decided to switch over to petroleum to meet its increasing needs. This resulted in closure of coal mines across the nation and Hashima island was no exception to the developing trend. It was in the month of January in 1974 that Mitsubishi, the company that owned the facility decided to close the same. A ceremony was held officially in the gymnasium and it was decided to close this mining field that was once home to over 5,000 miners and their families.
Within two months of closure of the coal field, the families in Hashima island had no reason to remain here and the island went barren soon enough. The island that saw mass exodus of people by the month of March 1974 has been uninhabited, ever since.
The monolithic building that were once the pride of Hashima island have seen massive degradation owing to winds, rains and typhoons that have struck the place, ever since. Wooden planks that were once elegantly designed to add to the ambiance of the place now fall off on a regular basis on tonnes of concrete that has piled owing to decades of degradation. Rusted iron frames and steel beams can be seen all over the place.
Waves crashing from the rough sea are the only companion of Hashima island, a place that used to be one of the most densely populated place on earth once.