The documentary “Forgotten Planet” was made by the Discovery Channel in 2011. In Michael Gakuran’s article, he explains that the crew was two full days of filming on the island and access to pretty much anywhere on it! Said crew consisted of several local filmmakers from Nagasaki, director Jim Hense, 3D cameraman Tom Collins, fixer Noriko Uchida, Michael Gakuran himself and of course, the passionate former resident of Hashima, Doutoku Sakamoto, who we previously saw in Nordanstad and von Haussewolff’s 2002 documentary.
The resume of the ‘Forgotten Island’ series is as follows: “Explore the cast-offs of humanity – buildings, compounds and even entire cities abandoned by humans for years. Fogotten Planet takes you to places forgotten by time eerie locations that once hummed with activity and now are desolate. Enter the eerie emptiness of the city of Chernobyl, walk the halls and streets of abandoned Hashima Island, the Old West ghost town of Bodie, the transplanted German village of Kolmanskop – abandoned in the Namibian desert. What happens when humans abandon a place? Tune-in to find out why people left.”
Hashima was featured in episode 6 of the series.
Hector García is the author of “A Geek in Japan” and creator of the website by the same name. Born in Spain, Hector is a software engineer and a self-proclaimed geek, who lives in Japan. His blog is one of the most-read blogs in the world in the Spanish language. He’s now working on his third book about his experiences in Japan and he loves taking pictures.
Although Hector has never visited Gunkanjima, he has been to other haikyo, such as an abandoned hospital in the outskirts of Tokyo. Still, he did write an article about the island, so I wanted to find out what his motivations are to visit and why he hasn’t done so yet.
Here is his answer:
Gunkanjima is probably the most expectacular one of the Japanese haikyos, that is why I have interest in going there. The problem is that it is very expensive to go to Gunkanjima from Tokyo, and also it seems there are so many restrictions on the visit that it is not a very enjoyable experience. I like the freedom of “exploring” as I want. – Hector García
He brings up a very good point. One of the attractions of urbex is to go and leave as you please, but transportation to the island takes money; also, Gunkanjima is accessible only during 100 days in a year, which are reaching weather standards. These are the standards that would prevent from using the landing pier:
1. When the wind blows over than 5 meters/second.
2. When the waves are higher than 50cm.
3. When visibility is under than 500 meters around.
*Even though upper standards would be achieved, the landing on the island would be canceled in case the ship commander judged it too risky for passengers, according to http://www.gunkanjima-concierge.com/en