Brian MacDuckston is an English teacher from San Francisco. When he’s not eating ramen, writing about ramen on his blog Ramen Adventures, organizing ramen tours or fun one-day ramen classes for English speakers in Tokyo, Japan, he records his experiences of everything else in Japan that is awesome in his other blog – Japan Bash.
In his blog article “Haikyo! Gunkanjima”, Brian talks about his experience of visiting the island as a tourist.
MK:How did you learn about Gunkanjima? How many times have you visited it?
BM: I just visited once. I knew about it for a while from the haikyo (urban exploration) blogs in Japan.
MK: Why did you vist Gunkanjima? What were your motivations for visiting?
BM: I was in town for work, and had some free time. It was just something interesting to do for me.
MK: Have you visited any similar sites or attractions like Gunkanjima?
BM: I have explored some haikyo in Japan now and then. Mainly abandoned hotels and theme parks; leftovers from the 1980s economic bubble.
MK: Do you actively seek to understand or have knowledge about the island?
BM: No. I only knew that it was an abandoned coal mine on a completely industrialized island.
MK: What was the main attractor to the island?
BM: Just to see it with my own eyes.
MK: Did you feel empathetic to the people who have previously lived on the island during your visit? Did you experience any feelings or emotions whilst at the site?
BM: I didn’t know about the history before I went. The tour graced over the use of Gunkanjima as a forced labor site, and it just seemed like a place where people would go to work when they couldn’t find anything better.
MK: Do you see Gunkanjima as unique or unusual?
BM: Very unique. Japan is covered with over-industrialized spots, but this was on a whole other level.
MK: Is there anything else you would like to share about Gunkanjima?
BM: If anyone has a free afternoon, it is well worth it to visit.