Writing about two fascinating places today. One isn't Japanese, but is in the Hong Kong of the past. What is their connection? Both were abandoned ruins at one point, and the now demolished Kowloon Walled City of Hong Kong (along with the busy Kowloon streets) were inspiration for the futuristic streets of Tokyo in the Ghost in the Shell anime movie by Mamoru Oshii.
|Kowloon Walled City Model Flickr / dcmaster|
|Flickr / by AntwerpenR|
After a little research I found one web site that I had visited over ten years ago, but is now defunct. Fortunately, the Internet Archive has a copy of it. This website chronicles the visit of a Japanese expedition (go figure!?!) that visited the Walled City prior to its demolition. The story was pretty fascinating and can be found here: http://web.archive.org/web/20020208225753/http://www.flex.co.jp/kowloon/story/index_e.html
Another site I found was the site with the amazing cross-section image from the book published by the Japanese expedition. And large image of the cross-section and other information can be found at this website: http://mein-home.blogspot.com/2011/12/kowloon-walled-city.html
April 2103 Update:
New link to Gizmodo who has recently published an excerpt from the South China Morning Post to recap the 20th anniversary demolition of the City of Darkness. It also shows that thousands of people lived there and made great friends and connections when they were poor. The SCMP article will probably disappear behind a paywall, but it has an awesome cross-section / infographic of the city.
Gunkanjima or Battleship Island
|Flickr / by Sergio Rozas|
Recently, the James Bond movie "Skyfall" seemed to feature a deserted island that looked very much like Gunkanjima, but it was actually an island off of Macau with sets inspired by the real thing. The real island itself is quite small and the buildings are really packed in.
Here is a link to a blog page where a guy took a tour of the island. Kind of interesting reading.On it is the name of tour company called Seaman Shokai (株式会社シーマン商会; TEL: 095-818-1105)
in Nagasaki that took him there. Another link to Gakuranman's blog some very nice photos of the desolation.
Also of note is this excellent historical article about the island from Cabinet Magazine.
I wonder if there were many novels and such set in either setting. It would have probably made for some fascinating reading. Also have a look on Youtube for some movies about both of the places.
April 2013 Update:
Rocketnews went out to the island with a Sony Corp. camera crew and took some really nice photos and even some new remote drone footage of the place. Cool.
Other Tokyo Excess Japanese Pop Culture Links
- Cup Noodles - Nissin Pop Culture
- Kaiju (Monster-sized) Burgers
- Pocky Pop Culture
- Coffee Please, Not Tea - Tokyo Coffee Shops, Hario & Canned Coffee
- Gyudon From Yoshinoya and Sukiya and JAL Air Beef Bowl
- JAL Inflight Food (they even did Air MOS Burgers)
- The Konbini Song and Lawson Evangelion Tie-ins
- Giant Robot Toys - Macross, Godzilla, Gundam
- Alien Art - Haniwa & Dogu Figures (Jomon & Yayoi Periods)
- Japan's Amazing Love of All Things Cat
- Kowloon Walled City and Gunkanjima Island. Even showed up in the James Bond movie Skyfall.
- Emoticons and Densha Otoko
- Hello Kitty and Pokemon Airliners
- Japanese Super Science