I was flicking through Twitter whilst struggling with a piece of work from school and saw this image from the Twitter address of Abandoned Places. The picture is available here. The tweet simply stated that:
An island in Japan had a population density of 216,264 people per sq mile. It’s now completely abandoned.
If you look at the image, the island looks fairly modern. This is not some sixteenth century fortress abandoned by the modern age. It looks from the twentieth century.
So I looked through the thread of responses to the post and found that it was the island of Hashima which is off the west coast the southern island of Japan and is about 9 miles off the coast of Nagasaki which now has ownership of the island. It was interesting to find out that the island was only populated in order to gain access to coal seams under the Pacific Ocean and had been owned and mined by the Mitsubishi corporation from 1897 until 1974.
I looked at the Wikipedia page for Hashima and found a comment which moved this from interesting to being a fantastic resource for all sorts of curriculum areas. For me, the excitement was around the potential as a stimulus for writing. The simple comment was
In 2013, Google sent an employee to the island with aÂ Street ViewÂ backpack to capture its condition in panoramic 360-degree views and allow users to take a virtual walk across the island. Google also used its Business Photos technology to let users look inside the abandoned buildings, complete with old black-and-white TVs and discarded soda bottles.
This means that not only are there interesting photographs of the island in its decrepit state and when it was in use but also you can now walk across the island using street view. This is transformational and allows you to look at a range of writing types and strategies using one resource. In narrative, this could lead to the teaching of short sentences to aid suspense and move the reader through a paragraph quickly adding to the atmosphere. It could lead to an amazing piece of scene setting using both flashback and present day descriptions as well all sorts of non fiction writing of non chronological reports, persuasive (it is now a fledgling tourist destination) or even a recount of the history of the island.
I hope that you like it as much as I do. All you have to do is grab the google ‘peg’ man and go on an exploration of Hashima island.