This blog is part of my SURE (Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience) project. My work on exploring the way Gunkanjima is perceived by other cultures will act as supporting research for my supervisor’s – Dr Mark Pendleton – extensive research on Gunkajima’s environment, culture and heritage. He will be investigating on location with a team of specialists the environmental and economicsymbolism of Hashima for the past and future of East Asian development and the relationship between haikyo [ruins] enthusiasts,the proposed UNESCO world heritage listing and the postwar decline ofJapan’s industrial capitalism,as part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project. I hope my research will help with his conducted research in relation to people’s interactions with Gunkanjima through processes of travel or tourism and its cultural uses in film and other forms of contemporary art.
My milestones and targets are the following:
Week 1: Gather photo and historical material about Gunkanjima island such as, Timeline of events. Island’s role in Meiji era. Korean families in Gunkanjima during 1939 and 1945.
Week 2: Visit Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield to compare to Gunkanjima – as both were formal industrial zones, visiting Kelham Museum will provide first hand experience equitable to visiting a museum on Gunkanjima and provide a strong basis from which to draw further comparison. Compare dark and disaster tourism sites, Euro-American ruins, to the island.
Week 3: Go through articles of journalists and blogs of urban explorers from Britain, America, Russia, Spain, Germany, to understand how the West sees this Eastern mystery.
Week 4: Research foreign and Japanese documentaries where Gunkanjima island is involved. In exploring these documentaries I hope to come to understand whether the focus of these documentaries falls more on the island as a tourist attraction or whether it delves into the lives of the people who may have once called this island home. In doing so I hope to better understand the role of the island today; as a lasting memory of lives once lived, or simply as a hot spot for would be adventurers.
Week 5: Explore Gunkanjima as it is portrayed in popular culture (book, movies, music) and begin to analyse changes in perception over time and explore how this reflects on society.
Week 6: Compile and analyse gathered information.