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Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Dead Island

posted by on December 20 at 12:34 PM

Let us for a moment leave the city of your living

…and journey to the city that begins at the of end of your life.

Over the wall and you are in place that is so dead…

…that even ghosts have abandoned it.

Nothing walks down those crumbling steps…

…nothing lives in that cage.
15-m.jpg To be alive and trapped is better than being dead and gone.

The story of Gunkanjima:

Off the westernmost coast of Japan, is an island called “Gunkanjima” that is hardly known even to the Japanese. Long ago, the island was nothing more than a small reef. Then in 1810, the chance discovery of coal drastically changed the fate of this reef. As reclamation began, people came to live here, and through coal mining the reef started to expand continuously. Befor long, the reef had grown into an artificial island of one kilometer (three quarters of a mile) in perimeter, with a population of 5300. Looming above the ocean, it appeared a concrete labyrinth of many-storied apartment houses and mining structures built closely together. Seen from the ocean, the silhouette of the island closely resembled a battleship - so, the island came to be called Gunkanjima, or Battleship island.

Eventually, the mines faced an end, and in 1974 the world’s once most densely populated island become totally deserted. The island, after all its inhabitants departed leaving behind their belongings, became an empty shell of a city where all its peopl disappeared overnight, as if by some mysterious act of God.

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Posted by Will in Seattle | December 20, 2007 10:37 AM


Posted by Fnarf | December 20, 2007 10:37 AM


Posted by John At Work | December 20, 2007 10:39 AM


Posted by kid icarus | December 20, 2007 10:43 AM

i expected more vines.

and dinosaurs.

Posted by max solomon | December 20, 2007 10:44 AM

post of the week

Posted by mirror | December 20, 2007 10:48 AM

I want to go there so bad right now.

Posted by Great Post Charles | December 20, 2007 10:50 AM

wow. This is the best Slog post I've seen in ages! Breathtaking.

Posted by louley | December 20, 2007 10:53 AM


You are the Ritchie Sexson of the stranger writing staff. You hit many grounders to second, but when you get ahold of one you really knock it out of the park. Great job on this post, it haunts me.

Posted by wisepunk | December 20, 2007 10:53 AM

Charles is still my boy, even after that "I Am Legend" review!

Posted by Shaniqua Jackson | December 20, 2007 10:58 AM

GREAT PHOTO OF SEATTLE. Isle de Morte rocked too.

Posted by StrangerDanger | December 20, 2007 11:00 AM


Posted by brandon | December 20, 2007 11:07 AM

Gorgeous. Reminds me of the pictures taken a few years ago of Chernobyl.

Posted by Jessica | December 20, 2007 11:09 AM


Posted by Original Monique | December 20, 2007 11:10 AM

I have wanted to go there for years, unfortunetly they closed it to visitors.... I just want to sit down in the street. Just sit, look around, and take it in.

Truly a marvel, and possibly foreshadowing of the industrial age and it's demise.

Posted by Homo Will | December 20, 2007 11:20 AM

Most. Perfect. Zombie. Film. Setting. Ever!

Posted by thaumaturgistguy | December 20, 2007 11:23 AM

I wonder if this has ever been used as a film set? If it hasn't, it should be.

Posted by michael strangeways | December 20, 2007 11:23 AM


Posted by infrequent | December 20, 2007 11:28 AM

@ 11

The picture of Seattle was taken by slightlynorth .

Posted by lunge | December 20, 2007 11:33 AM

Uhhh, nice post, but when you take pictures from Flickr for use on a site like this, it is proper to CREDIT the SOURCE and link the image back to the source image on Flickr.

I mean, I'm just saying....

Slog, if you won't play nice, I'll have to stop putting my pictures in your pool.

Posted by Shawn | December 20, 2007 11:33 AM

these pictures are haunting me; they're like something out of a Miyazaki movie. And the other pictures on the website are beautiful, too.

I've emailed my friend Masaki to try and find out if he knows anything about this place, or if it's a secret in Japan, too.

I'm hoping someone has, or will, do a documentary about this place.

Posted by michael strangeways | December 20, 2007 11:40 AM

Very cool. I'm gonna go read up on that place.

Posted by Dougsf | December 20, 2007 11:50 AM
Posted by infrequent | December 20, 2007 12:01 PM

Thank you, Charles, for this great non-boob related post.

Posted by switzerblog | December 20, 2007 12:11 PM

20: Photo linked, writer chastised.

Posted by Amy Kate Horn | December 20, 2007 12:11 PM

Ah yes, Battle Royale with the lovely Chiaki Kuriyama, the gorgeous Go Go from Kill Bill 1. Didnt see part 2, but the first one was great. Students fighting to the death!

Posted by SeMe | December 20, 2007 12:20 PM

I think we need our own battleship island. Couldn't Seattle pass some kind of ordinance that Vulcan has to build us one out in Puget Sound if they want to raise height limits?

Posted by elenchos | December 20, 2007 12:44 PM


Posted by crazycatguy | December 20, 2007 12:49 PM


That was pretty cool Chuckers. Much better than the black marxist nationalism shit.

Posted by ecce homo | December 20, 2007 12:52 PM

A truly amazing post!

Posted by debunker | December 20, 2007 1:07 PM

i don't know, i kinda thought it was marxist nationalism shit.

Posted by infrequent | December 20, 2007 1:12 PM

This is great Charles, thank you.

Posted by Donolectic | December 20, 2007 1:19 PM

Just read the book "The World Without Us" which is about what would eventually happen to all manmade creations if humans were erased from the Earth. The author takes the reader to mostly inhabited places like Chernobyl and the DMZ. I'm surprised he didn't mentioned this place. Pretty cool.

Posted by Sosa | December 20, 2007 1:40 PM

wonderful! reminds me of the abandoned army Buckner Building, the "city under one roof", in Whittier, Alaska, which I visited several years ago.. the abandoned theater was an especially creepy room.

Posted by jameyb | December 20, 2007 3:21 PM

Nothing human walks down those steps, but I'm sure many living things call it home.

Posted by mla | December 20, 2007 7:50 PM

Really excellent words accompanying some breathtaking photos. Even Ecce Homo admits it.

Posted by Donovan | December 21, 2007 2:01 AM

Pretty sure this was a Metafilter post from about a year ago.


Yep, it was.

Posted by Ryan | December 21, 2007 7:38 AM

I think you can see Will Smith driving around in his hot car in the corner of that third pic-

Posted by freshnycman | December 21, 2007 10:09 AM

Also, for a more local example of this phenomenon, take a look at Forgotten Detroit.

Posted by Ryan | December 21, 2007 12:51 PM

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