Friday, February 29, 2008


Haikyo is the Japanese word for "ruins." Not to be confused with the Haikyo that is a talent agency representing Seiyu (voice actors for movies, video games, anime, etc).

When we first got to Misawa, I was amazed by the abandoned buildings that seemed to be such a pervasive feature. I always had this perception of Japan as the land of neat and tidy. Living here quickly disabused me of that notion.

Abandoned crap is all over Japan and said crap includes but is not limited to fridges, cars, roads, hotels, apartments, office buildings, roller coasters and even an entire island.

Abandoned places are prevalent and captivating enough that a specialized kind of domestic tourism dedicated to it has arisen; Haikyo tourism is popular enough to warrant several guidebooks and to generate interest in artistic photography of the ruins. There's plenty of websites about Haikyo too, featuring images of beautifully decaying places grimly surrendering to entropy.

I get the whimwhams just looking at the pictures.

Surface Below - Photography of Gunkanjima Island by American photographer Ross McDermott

Deflation Spiral - Folio Number 9 contains my favorite images.

Shinichiro Kobayashi - published by the ubiquitious house of Kodansha. Hokkaido Island is the stingray-shaped island at the top. Directly below that is the prefecture/area where I live.

Ruined Japan

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