A photographer has shared a series of striking images that offer viewers an intriguing look at the ruins of Hashima Island, a former deep sea coal-mining settlement located approximately 20 kilometres off the coast of Nagasaki in Japan.
Nicknamed Gunkanjima, or “Battleship Island” in English due to its unique shape, the former thriving industrial commune was initially set up in the late 1800’s before being purchased by the Mitsubishi Corporation.
At one time the 16-acre island was home to over 5000 people, with labourers and their families living there permanently. The island was abandoned in 1974 when Japan was making the switch to petroleum energy. It also drew controversy during its time due to the fact that forced labourers worked on the site during WWII.
The images were taken by Irish photographer James Gabriel Martin, and show the island in a state of ruin following years of exposure to adverse weather conditions at sea such as typhoons. The photographs show wild flowers and long grass sprouting up amongst the crumbled remains of buildings, with Japanese hawks circling overhead.
Hashima Island was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015, and in recent times, has become an extremely popular tourist destination, with companies offering cruises and sightseeing trips to the island.
The island was even featured in the 2012 James Bond film “Skyfall”, acting as the headquarters of villain Raoul Silva.