HOME > Role of Hashima in the modernization of Japan

Role of Hashima in the modernization of Japan

Modernization of Japan and shipbuilding and coal industries of Nagasaki

Modern industry in Japan started with shipbuilding and coal mining in Nagasaki. The Edo bakufu established the Japanese Naval School at Nagasaki to rank with those of powerful seafaring countries. At the same time, Nagasaki Ironworks was constructed to repair and build ships. Besides, at the end of Edo Period, the number of foreign ships entering Nagasaki Port increased with the opening of the country to the rest of the world during the Ansei Period. Demand for coal as a fuel rapidly increased. Modernization of Nagasaki continued in parallel with the development of the shipbuilding and coal industries.

Takashima was at the vanguard of the coal industry of Japan

Triggered by the opening of the Nagasaki Port to global shipping, demand for coal as a fuel for steam ships increased. So, in 1868 (Keio 4), development of the Takashima coal pit was launched with joint investments by the Saga han and Glover Trading Company. Foreign engineers were employed in the shaft and Japan's first winding machines and water discharge pumps powered by steam engines were introduced. In April 1869 (Meiji 2), the shaft reached 43 meters in depth and was named Hokkeiseiko.
After the Saga han was abolished following the Haihan-chiken (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures) in 1871 (Meiji 4), the Meiji government took over management of the coal pit. The coal pit was then sold to Shojiro Goto and operated until 1876 (Meiji 9). However, it was decommissioned when it was flooded with seawater.
Hokkeiseiko was a first western-style coal pit in Japan that actively introduced foreign capital and technologies. The coal production technology introduced to the area was later transferred to Hashima coal pit, Chikuho coal pit, and Miike coal pit to develop coal mining in Japan.

And, to Hashima

After the opening of the Takashima coal pit (Hokkeiseiko), which was the first shaft powered by steam engines in Japan, technology that would lead to the modernization of coal pits in Japan was introduced to the nearby Hashima coal pit. The technology developed by developing Hashima contributed to the establishment of Japan's own coal mining industry, which developed based on western technologies and machinery in a very short period during the first half of the Meiji period. Besides, high-quality coal produced in the area supported the modernization in the iron-making, steel-making, and shipbuilding fields by being supplied as coking coal for iron-making to the Yahata Ironworks and other plants.

Heritage behind the modernization of Nagasaki city

You can read an explanation by clicking on the name of each facility in the gray frame.

Nagasaki Shipyard, Former Wooden Mold Factory Museum

This is the oldest building of the Nagasaki Shipyard, which tells the history of Mitsubishi.

This was the wooden mold factory of the Mitsubishi joint-stock company during the period when the shipbuilding industry was being established. It was built to manufacture wooden molds for manufacturing castings in 1898. It is a wood-framed and brick two-story building. In 1985, it was converted into a museum. It is now an exhibition facility that shows the history of Nagasaki Shipyard through such exhibits such as Japan's oldest working machine (vertical shaper) imported from the Netherlands in 1857 when Nagasaki Ironworks was constructed, to the public (advance reservations required).

[ADDRESS]
1-1, Akunouramachi, Nagasaki city, Nagasaki prefecture
[TEL]
095-828-4134(Nagasaki Shipyard Museum, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.)* Advance reservations required
[ACSESS]
Nagasaki bus: From Nagasakiekimae bus stop (to Tategami/Kaminoshima) to Akunoura bus stop, 3-minute walk.
Nagasaki prefectural bus: From Nagasakiekimae bus stop (to Tategami/Kozakibanaguchi) to Akunoura bus stop, 3-minute walk.

Giant Cantilever Crane [closed-door]

This is Japan's first electric crane, and it is still operating.

This electric crane was the first to be introduced to Japan when plant facilities of shipyards were electrified by Mitsubishi joint-stock company, which was active during the period when the shipbuilding industry was established. It was manufactured by Appleby in the UK. It was a state-of-the-art crane that could bear the load of hoisting equipment for large ships. It was driven by an electric motor.

In 1909, it was erected on the quay wall of Akunoura at the machine plant of the shipyard facilities to load and unload large machines (turbine, boiler) to and from ships. In the previous year, Nagasaki Shipyard manufactured Japan's first steam turbine for ships and use on land. In 1961, the crane was disassembled and relocated on the quay wall of Mizunoura (present location) because the plant had been expanded with land reclamation carried out around the crane. Today, it is used for loading steam turbines and propellers of large ships manufactured in the machine plant.

[ADDRESS]
1-1, Akunouramachi, Nagasaki city, Nagasaki prefecture

* This facility is not open to the public because it is inside Nagasaki Shipyard.

Senshokaku Guest House

Historic guest house with a view of Nagasaki Port

A wooden two-story western-style house constructed on a hill with a view of No. 3 Dry Dock during the time of Mitsubishi joint-stock company when the shipbuilding industry was being established. In 1904, it was completed to be a house of Heigoro Shoda, director of Nagasaki Shipyard. However, he did not live in it and it became a guest house.
It was named Senshokaku because Higashifushiminomiya Yorihito Shino, captain of battleship Chiyoda, said "Fukokeisho wo shimeru (place of scenic beauty)" when he stayed there in 1905. Tatsuzo Sone, the designer, was a disciple of Josiah Conder, the British architect. Senshokaku is still used as a guest house and is virtually unchanged since it was constructed. It hosts celebratory parties for launch ceremonies and delivery ceremonies, and for entertaining distinguished visitors.

[ADDRESS]
1-1, Akunouramachi, Nagasaki city, Nagasaki prefecture

* This facility is not open to the public because it is inside Nagasaki Shipyard.

No. 3 Dry Dock

This was the biggest dry dock in Asia. It supported the shipbuilding industry in Japan.

This large dry dock was constructed in 1905 by Mitsubishi joint-stock company when the shipbuilding industry was being established. In the Meiji Period, No.1 dock (1879), No. 2 dock (1896) and No. 3 dock (1905) were opened. However, No. 3 dry dock is the only dock operating at present. The third dock was expanded three times as ships continued to get bigger (1943, 1957, and 1960). The Siemens motor-driven water discharge pump installed when the dock was opened is still working and still operates the dry dock after 100 years.

[ADDRESS]
1-1, Akunouramachi, Nagasaki city, Nagasaki prefecture

* This facility is not open to the public because it is inside Nagasaki Shipyard.

Remains of Kosuge Ship Repair Dock

This is Japan's oldest slip dock and it shows how operations were carried out in those days.

Kosuge Ship Repair Dock was the first slip dock in Japan to be powered by a steam engine (a dock used for repairing ships).
At the end of the Edo Period, each Han was aggressively building and buying large ships to protect against threats from other countries. However, since Japan had no facility to repair a ship's keel, Satsuma han and Scotsman Thomas Blake Glover jointly constructed a ship repair dock with Japan’s first winding machine powered by a steam engine in January 1869 (December, Meiji 1).

Construction of Kosuge Ship Repair Dock was an early joint venture between Japanese and foreign businesses. Glover imported all of the equipment including the winding machine and rails from the UK. Saisuke Godai (later Tomoatsu Godai), the person responsible in the Satsuma han, studied in England with the help of Glover. The remains of the Kosuge Ship Repair Dock still retain most of the major functions such as the winding house (Japan’s oldest remaining brick building), winding machine, and rails with the surrounding stone walls. They are important relics that show the introduction of modern shipbuilding technologies in Japan.

[ADDRESS]
Kosugemachi, Nagasaki city, Nagasaki prefecture
[TEL]
095-828-4111
[ACSESS]
From JR Nagasaki station, take a Nagasaki bus [destination to Nomo peninsula (via Tomachi)] for 15 minutes, take off at Kosugemachi, 5-minute walk.

Former Glover residence

Business hub of Glover, who introduced western technologies to Japan

The Glover residence is the former home of the Scotsman Thomas Blake Glover, who visited Japan in 1859 (Ansei 6). In 1863 (Bunkyu 3), the house was constructed in the foreign settlement that overlooked the Nagasaki Ironworks from the opposite shore. This is Japan's oldest existing wooden western-style building. It shows the fusion of Japanese traditional building technology and British colonial-style architecture.

It was constructed by Hidenoshin Koyama, who was the master builder of Ouratenshudo. The house is characterized by the use of Japanese roof tiles and clay walls (plaster), semicircle hipped roofs, independent wooden columns on a stone paved floor, arch-shaped fanlight with a pendant post between columns, and a spacious veranda with a wooden diamond-shaped lattice ceiling.

Glover not only played an important role as a trading merchant in Japan, importing weapons and ships and exporting tea, shortly after the opening of the country to the rest of the world, but also contributed to the modernization of Japan's shipbuilding and coal-mining industries by building the Kosuge Ship Repair Dock (Japan's oldest existing slip dock powered by steam engines) jointly with the Satsuma han and developing Takashima coal pit (which introduced steam engines to coal mining for the first time in Japan) jointly with the Saga han. To honor Glover's achievements, the Meiji government gave awarded him with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in 1908 (Meiji 41).
* From the former Glover residence, you can see the Giant Cantilever Crane and the third beam of the Nagasaki Shipyard on the opposite coast.

[ADDRESS]
8-1, Minamiyamate, Nagasaki city, Nagasaki prefecture
[TEL]
095-822-8223(Glover GARDEN)
[ACSESS]
Street car: From Nagasakiekimae station to Ouratenshudo-shita station, 8-minute walk.
Nagasaki bus: From Nagasakiekimae Higashiguchi bus stop to [Tagami/Ohirabashi] Ouratenshudo-shita bus stop, 8-minute walk.

Officially designated historical site: Takashima coal pit remains, Takashima Hokkeiseiko remains

Triggered by the opening of the Nagasaki Port to global shipping, demand for coal as a fuel for steam ships increased. Therefore, in 1868 (Keio 4), development of Takashima coal pit was launched with joint investments by the Saga han and Glover Trading Company. Foreign engineers were employed in the shaft and Japan's first winding machines and water discharge pumps powered by steam engines were used. In April, 1869 (Meiji 2), the shaft reached 43 meters in depth and was named Hokkeiseiko.

After the Saga han was abolished following the Haihan-chiken (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures) in 1871 (Meiji 4), the Meiji government took over management of the coal pit. The coal pit was then sold to Shojiro Goto and operated until 1876 (Meiji 9). However, it was decommissioned when it was flooded with seawater.

 Hokkeiseiko was a first western-style coal pit in Japan that actively introduced foreign capital and technologies. The coal production technology introduced to the area was later transferred to Hashima coal pit, Chikuho coal pit, and Miike coal pit to develop coal mining in Japan. Structures from that time, including the shaft, still remain underground. They are important relics that tell us the story of the coal pits in the early years of modernization.

[ADDRESS]
99-1, Takashima-cho, Nagasaki city
[TEL]
095-896-3110(Nagasaki City Takashima Administration Center)
[ACSESS]
25 minutes from Takashima Port Terminal by walk
Bus: From Takashima Port Terminal Bus Stop to Honmachi bus stop, 1-minute walk.