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Hashima Island to be a World Heritage Site

Posted on: April 22, 2009

History and architecture clearly interest people. Vestiges and remnants not only elucidate the erstwhile civilisation but also throw good examples of creativity and innovations. Hashima Island, a mere 15 acre rock bed off the Nagasaki island, Japan, is one such place which is drawing a lot of attention these days. The complete study has thrown clear examples of the architectural development of the place.

Initially, a coal mine, Hashima Island was a home to the densest population. Japan’s autocratic powers forced Chinese and Korean labours to populate the island and hunt for the coal.  The mines were rife so intensive labour was required at the time of World War 2. With limited space, the buildings were taller than broader. Shared bathrooms and kitchens clearly highlighted the challenge that the space threw at them. Many workers died beneath the island in the coal mines. And still lie tombed.

The latest study highlighted the presence of various facilities like theatre, doctor’s office, arcades, restaurants and bars. The dwelling gradually morphed into a thriving microscopic community with all the grass root facilities. Mitsubushi, being the owner of the island, assembled various units in their community to make it more hospitable.

With the advent of petroleum energy, the coal’s demand diminished to a level that Mitsubushi had to stop the mining and the short lived heydays of the isalnd came to a sad closure in 1974. The occupants were ferried to the mainland and Hashima Island was shut.

The island today stands in desolation encompassed by the water. The walls have caved in, the streets have become disheveled but still the structure remarkably retains the shape. The island today lives as a ghost island with few stray cats and dogs as its inhabitants.

The Japanese government has plans to make the island a ‘World Heritage Site’ and the rest of the world soon might want to be there.

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