Part way into the new James Bond film, Skyfall, 007 is led to a deserted island, wherein waits the film’s villain, Silva. But this isn’t your typical deserted island — it’s no sandy outcrop with a couple palm trees and a few buried, empty bottles of rum. No, this is a portrait of urban blight in miniature, a place where everyone’s luck ran out, but the city-like structures they built still stand.

And it’s a real place. Or, at least, it is based on a real place. The island in the film gets its own fictional backstory, but the look of the place is based in great detail on an island called Hashima, on which thrived a tiny but densely populated company mining town. Abandoned in the ’70s, Hashima stands now as one of the strangest ghost towns on Earth. Read More »