The city served as a coal mining base for almost a hundred years. In the 19th century, Mitsubishi (before they started making cars for Jackie Chan) used to run boats from Nagasaki to the island so workers could dig coal, until they realized that they could save a lot of money by just putting the miners and their families in concrete blocks on the island itself. Some 5,250 miners squeezed onto a 16-acre island, making it the most densely populated independent place on Earth, ever -- the equivalent of placing the entire world's population in Maine.
But without the seasonal joy of the McLobster.
So what happened? Did a bomb go off there or something? Nope: In 1974, the coal ran out and Mitsubishi left, telling the now jobless employees that they would be hired on the mainland on a first come, first served basis. Entire families rushed out, leaving toys on the floor and cups of coffee on the table. Within two months, the entire place was empty.
This woman forgot her torso.
Seems like a place worth visiting and preserving, right? Korea disagrees: They're trying to keep it off the U.N.'s World Heritage Site list, on account of the small fact that during World War II, Gunkanjima used slave labor. And not just Korean prisoners -- some Japanese nationals were forced to work the mines, too, and were punished if they tried to escape. Besides being tortured and starved, some were sent to clear the rubble in Nagasaki... right after the bombs dropped.
See, the executives at Mitsubishi weren't just corrupt. They were straight-up Bond villains.