Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Virtual Paintout on Hashima Island this month

Hashima Island

Leaving Hashima
Watercolour and oil pastels
Charlene Brown

This Streetview picture was taken from a boat full of tourists leaving after viewing the deserted island of Hashima, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here is a link to it

The island once had an important seabed coal-mining facility, with the population peaking in 1959 at over 5000.  The workers were housed in apartment blocks, built to resist typhoons, including Japan’s first tall reinforced concrete buildings. However, as oil replaced coal in the 1960s, coal mines began closing down all over Japan. The Hashima mine closed in January 1974, and by April the island was cleared of all inhabitants.  35 years later it was opened to tourists and World Heritage designation was applied for. At first this was opposed by Korea and China because of the forced labour used in the mine before and during World War II, but both countries withdrew their opposition when Japan agreed to acknowledge this in signage on the site.