I love Japan - it forever gives up new secrets. Look at this...
Hashima is an abandoned island to the west of Nagasaki that earned the forbidding moniker "Gunkanjiima" or Battleship Island, and you can clearly see how it got that.
Built by Mitsubishi, starting in the 1890s and continuing well into the 20th century, Hashima was reclaimed from the sea with the goal of extracting coal from the sea floor. I can only imagine what an horrific job that must have been, given that the whole enterprise began right in the earliest period of the undersea business.
The island was occupied as late as the early 1970s, earning the dubious distinction of being the most crowded place on earth - having seen just how tightly packed some of the older streets in Tokyo are one can only imagine what an even more densely fitted population must have been like.
If it looks hellish, that's not a thought that has escaped other observers. It has been the backdrop to movies and the inspiration behind video games.
Currently there is a ban on tourism to the island, though I gather there is a movement to try to open it up to visitors.
Thanks to this post at MutantFrog for leading me to this one at Odee.
Check out these images from Picasa.