The Mysterious and Abandoned Hashima Island
Around 20 kilometres from Nagasaki, the abandoned island of Hashima, also known as Gunkanjima, enjoyed a heyday before suffering a dramatic decline. It is now totally uninhabited but, since 2015, tourists have been able to visit part of the island, which imperceptibly tells the story of its dark past. Once a glorious example of a prosperous mining town, unique in the world, Hashima has been abandoned since 1974, with nature having reclaimed its rights.
Following the discovery of a coal deposit on this insular area of land that’s 480 metres long and 160 metres wide, Mitsubishi bought the site in 1980 and developed a town to accommodate its workforce. Solid concrete was used to strengthen and protect apartment buildings, a school, hospital and other infrastructure against adverse weather conditions. At its peak, Hashima Island housed no fewer than 5259 residents, becoming at that time the most densely populated place in the world.
Over the years, resources began to run out, which led to a decline in activity and the mass departure of islanders, until the very last resident left in 1974. Over the course of a 100 years, the concrete fortress had become dilapidated, declining further every time a typhoon hit. Considered dangerous by the authorities, access to the island was forbidden until 2009.
In 2015, however, this paradise for urban explorers became a tourist attraction. Made popular by Christopher Nolan’s Inception and Sam Mendes’s Skyfall, the island experienced a resurgence of interest. But the majority of the island remains inaccessible. Just one tiny managed area is open to visitors keen to discover a little bit of history which, for better or worse, is still standing.
The Emperor of Japanese Porn is Now the Star of a New Netflix Series
Deliciously funny, The Naked Director especially succeeds in reviving the atmosphere that was so characteristic of 1980s Japan.
Shi-An, The Paper Teahouse
Katagiri Architecture + Design marries the finesse of the Japanese tea ceremony and the delicateness of origami with a teahouse made from washi paper.
A Japanese Ikebana Artist in France
Akiko Usami’s bouquets bring together the best of French and Japanese floral traditions and combine sobriety and opulence with vigour.
No Television, No Bathroom: The Recipe for Success at the Sakamoto Inn
The antithesis of trendy, the little Yuyado Sakamoto inn, located in the hinterland of Noto peninsula in Japan, has the merit of staying true to tradition.
Paintings of Urban Japan and the Beauty of Daily Life
Residents of a large Japanese metropolis go about their business. It is such everyday banalities that artist Takeshi Miyasaka transcribe into paintings.