Photo: Sony Pictures
The island behind Javier Bardem’s master hideaway in “Skyfall” does not have a happy story.If you’ve seen the 23rd Bond film, you remember the abandoned island housing Bardem’s villain. Its remains reminded us of the ruinous, barren wasteland Christopher Nolan depicted in “Inception.”
Unlike Nolan’s film, the deserted island shown in the latest Bond flick isn’t a dream. It’s real.
And, it didn’t always look the way it did in “Skyfall.”
Located off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, is the now-abandoned island of Hashima.
In 1959, the small island was overflowing with people, of essential use to Japan for its underground coal mines. Today, the abandoned Hashima mirrors a post-apocalyptic world.
A documentary of the island appearing on YouTube reveals some of the more harrowing details of the island.
The Mitsubishi Corporation purchased the island in 1890 with the purpose of using the island as one of Japan's primary coal mining facilities during World War II, the Korean War, and afterward.
The island's buildings were made of concrete to protect against destruction from bad weather like typhoons.
An excerpt from Korean laborer Suh Jung-woo on being taken to the island:
'I was one of two boys forced onto a truck in my village and taken to the government office, where several thousand other Koreans ranging in age from about fourteen to 20 had been gathered ...
The mine was deep under the sea, the workers reaching it by elevator down a long narrow shaft. The coal was carried out from a spacious underground chamber, but the digging places were so small that we had to crouch down to work. It was excruciating, exhausting labour. Gas collected in the tunnels, and the rock ceilings and walls threatened to collapse at any minute. I was convinced that I would never leave the island alive.'
It's estimated that 835 people lived on every two-and-a-half acres of land ... approximately a square meter and a half per person.
As coal became obsolete in 1960s Japan, the mines on the island were shut down. The last people left Hashima in 1974 leaving it to decompose.
The island was closed for decades to the public, but since April 2009, sightseeing boats take tourists for small tours on one end of the island. It takes about 50 minutes to get from Nagasaki to Hashima.
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