PDN Photo of the Day

Forbidden Battleship Island (5 Photos)

Forbidden Battleship Island (5 Photos)


All Images © Michael Gakuran

“Gunkanjima, or ‘Battleship Island’ in English, is the nickname for a tiny deserted island off the coast of Japan. Once used to mine coal, at its peak it had a thriving community and one of the largest population densities the world has ever seen. Nowadays it lies in ruins and visiting the island is strictly forbidden except via the designated tour routes which, unfortunately, do not allow travellers to explore deep inside.

I was fortunate enough to meet a fellow urban explorer who took me to the island in secret. We only had a few short hours of time to photograph the place, but I was overwhelmed by the mysterious beauty in the decaying concrete buildings and the curious objects left behind by the residents who were forced to leave their homes there some 30 years ago.”-Michael Gakuran

Michael Gakuran lives and works in Japan. To view more of his work and learn more about his exploration on Battleship Island click here.




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  1. there was a tv special a year or two ago on the discovery channel about that island. very fascinating. that island gives a tiny view as to what an apocalyptic world might look like. i’m surprised Hollywood movie productions haven’t used it for sets.

  2. I think the show you are talking about is “life after people.” During the show, one of the segments show real life places that have been abandoned to give an idea of what modern cities might look like after people have disappeared. They go to some very neat locations during the show including my states horrible disaster Centralia, PA. I stopped off at Centralia coming back from New York, and it is creepy being in a ghost town. Alas by the time that I discovered Centralia they had already demolished most of the building.

  3. love the arrangement with the cautiously optomistic doll at the end…. something to think about as we approach the anniversary of 9/11 …hope

  4. Wow! Amazing what treasure there can be found within ruins. How I’d love to photograph this place. Makes me curious though. How did this happen?

  5. Thanks for posting; dark and fascinating place brought forth by your photographic perspective. I want to walk through it.

  6. The old chair must be elementary school’s one.Now I can hear the voice of children’s laughing and go around anywhere the island through the picture. Thank you for introducing the 軍艦島 (Gunnkanjima). It’s really good picture.ありがとうございます。

  7. Amazing images and what an interesting story. This is the first time I’ve heard of this place and I’m a huge history buff. I’m going to Google this now. Thanks for sharing and for having the guts to sneak in there!!!!

  8. Perfect training ground for special operations units. Also a good tool to explain the value of what was left behind from a sustainability perspective. All of the concrete and steel can be recycled, not to mention the wiring. Thanks for the amazing shots!

  9. My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

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