Photographs by Andrew Meredith
Lying off the coast of Nagasaki on the Southwest coast of Japan, Hashima Island, or Gunkanjima as it’s locally known, was once the most densely populated place on earth because of its 15 acre size (the equivalent of 15 football pitches).
In the 1800s, owners Mitsubishi developed the tiny island into a coal mining settlement where coal was dug from beneath the South China Sea. It didn’t take long for the population of the island to grow. This in turn meant that Hashima Island had to expand and improve amenities to accommodate the mining workers and their families, as well as providing education, health care and recreational areas for their children. Hashima’s skyline was shaped by the island’s tiny size; having no choice but to build upwards, rather than outwards, resulting in a densely packed maze of concrete high-rise structures.