Since people are still falling in love with the latest James Bond film Skyfall, we don't want to spoil the fun. If you haven't seen the movie yet, come back to this post later.
For those of you who did indulge in the 23rd 007 installment this weekend, we have an interesting little backstory about the spooky island featured in the spy film. The villainous Silva (Javier Bardem) beckons Bond and the mysterious Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe) to an abandoned island where he has set up an elaborate operation to hack into MI6 and destroy its agents and leaders. Although Silva shares a story about how he cleared the island of its residents, the real-life tale is actually far more interesting. The location was based on a place nicknamed Battleship Island or Ghost Island — it's real name is Hashima Island, one of several hundred uninhabited islands near Nagasaki, Japan. And while we're being technical here, the actual scene in Skyfall was filmed at an unnamed island off the coast of Macau.
Hashima's roots are in the coal-mining industry, dating back to 1887 during the industrialization of Japan. Mitsubishi owned the island and housed workers on-site so they could begin the daunting task of mining coal from undersea. The company closed the mines in the 1970s once petroleum took over the industry. Now, all that exists are the crumbling concrete apartment buildings, the surrounding sea wall, and urban explorers who visit its remains. At one point in its history, Hashima was the most densely populated place on Earth with 5,259 residents packed on 15 acres of land. The island has since become a model of modern architecture from the Taisho and Showa eras.
Our friends at Slash Film inform us that most of the scenes that take place on the island were actually shot on sets — full-scale replicas built outside the famous Pinewood Studios in the U.K. We've shared a few pics of the real-life Hashima, below. Slash Film recommends visiting Gakuranman.com for more great photos and info about this abandoned beauty.
Image credit: Jordy Theiller
Image credit: Kenta Mabuchi