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The online resurgence of photos of a former Meiji era prison in Nagasaki have citizens buzzing in fascinated awe at its haunted, surreal atmosphere. With its dilapidated rooms and caved-in ceilings, the scenery could very well have served as the inspiration for several video games such as Resident Evil or Silent Hill. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if a horde of zombies actually did call this place home.

Although the building has been partially dismantled over the last several years, you can still experience the former scenery of these ruins through photographs taken just prior to the start of its demolition in 2007. Join us after the jump for a look at some of these rare photos – the creepiness level is over 9000! 

The prison in question is located in Isahaya City, Nagasaki Prefecture, and is a 10-minute walk from Hon-Isahaya Station on the Shimabara Railway Line. What is now just an abandoned lot was once an overcrowded building known as one of the “Big Five” Meiji era (1868-1912) prisons across Japan that were designed by prominent architect of the time Keijiro Yamashita. The construction of these new, Western-style facilities was one attempt by the fledgling government in their race to catch up with the modernized superpowers of the day. In fact, the Japanese engineers first traveled abroad to study foreign prisons before designing their own. The remaining “Big Five” prisons were built in Chiba, Kanazawa, Nara, and Kagoshima. While the Chiba and Nara prisons are still in use to this day (!), the buildings in Kanazawa and Kagoshima have been dismantled for the most part and/or preserved in different locations as historic relics.

The Nagasaki prison was originally completed in 1908 and served its function up until 1992; it was then left untouched until June of 2007. Difficult economic times dictated the decision to demolish the structure rather than to preserve it. Supposedly, the main gate was left intact.

In late May of 2007, the general public was invited to take a rare look at the interior premises of the prison before being knocked down. Join us as we go on a photographic tour of the crumbling building…just get ready to fend of any zombies we may run into!

▼Located smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood, the prison was left as is for 15 years after closing. This is the main gate.

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▼Note the distinctive architectural style using red brick, a modern touch during the Meiji period.

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▼Panoramic view of the outer walls

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▼This should help put the height of the wall into perspective. No chance of escape here.

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▼Almost all of the ceiling had decayed due to neglect, creating a thoroughly creepy effect.

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▼A circular atrium with five corridors of prison cells jutting off from the center. The roof had completely collapsed in.

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▼It’s easier to picture the structure from an aerial view.

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▼What might be lurking at the end of the hallway??

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▼Here are examples of individual jail cells that housed THREE people. There were no rooms designed for only two people, in case one of the inmates happened to be female.

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▼A bit cramped, wouldn’t you say?

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▼Beyond this peephole is an isolation cell. It’s hard to see, but you should be able to get an idea of how tiny it is.

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▼Don’t you think the overgrown vegetation adds a nice touch?

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▼A separate building on the same grounds served as a detention center for convicted people. They were temporarily housed here while awaiting a verdict. Unlike in the main prison, the people here were still allowed to receive gifts from family members.

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▼Those prisoners sentenced to hard labor worked in this factory.

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▼The floor is covered in bat droppings.

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▼Can you guess the purpose of these numbered squares?

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▼The numbers were used for prisoners to line up before going to the washroom. Each person was only given three minutes with the water.

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▼There were even medical facilities, including an operating room (though we’re guessing they weren’t exactly the best of the best…). This part of the building was rebuilt at some point, so hadn’t suffered as much damage as other parts of the building.

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Well, how was the journey? It seems like a perfect place to take some quality Halloween pictures for those not of the faint-of-heart.

Sources: Daily PortalalfalfalfaWikipedia
Images: Daily Portalalfalfalfa