There is a small island of the coast of Nagasaki were time stands still. My desire was to pay respect to that which is no more; to that which is ‘Unstoppable’.
This island, Hashima had experienced a rapid development through coal mining in the past. It came to be called ‘Gunkan-jima’ (Warship Island) from its appearance hardened with concrete. Around 1960, during its most prosperous era, the population density of Gunkan-jima was ranked No.1 in the world; nine times larger than that of Tokyo. A lot of sweat, tears and blood were shed by laborers because of the danger involved in working with coal. This rapid development was simply ‘Unstoppable’, like a spinning wheel out of control.
Years following, oil became the popular source of energy which led to a rapid decline in coal consumption which in turn led to people jumping ship. This island was becoming a ghost town. It was ‘Unstoppable’.
And now, it has been deserted for over 35 years; an island of ruin. All it knows now are the waves that crash on its shores.
Unbelievably, I was allowed to stand on this island. I tried to stop its ‘Unstoppable’ by taking photos. These works are the records of ‘Unstoppable’ captured only for a moment.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the city of Nagasaki for giving me the permission to enter the restricted island of Gunkan-Jima and helping me complete this project.
※The island is a closed off in accordance with the city of Nagasaki.
Motonori SHIMIZU is based in Japan. Born in Japan in 1980. He graduated from economic department of Chuo University (Tokyo). While working in businessman, he started studying photography on his own. His first project ‘Unstoppbale’ was received a Bronze prize at PX3 and Honorable Mention at International Photography Awards. And the project was exhibited in Month Of Photography Los Angels 2013, Ballarat International Foto Biennale ’13 (Australia) and Photovisa-International Festival of Photography in Krasnodar (Russia). His second project ‘Marginal Lives’ is on going. It’s a photo essay series with a theme of very aging villages and depopulation in Japan.