Don't be fooled by the happy little clouds or the tropical and mountainous vacation vistas. This is a bomb shelter designed to withstand apocalyptic scenarios.
Seiichiro Nishimoto, CEO of Shelter Co., in one of his company's nuclear bunkers, built in the basement of his home in Osaka, Japan. | (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
For Japanese companies making nuclear bunkers, business is, well, booming. One company received eight orders for the custom-built shelters in April alone, Reuters reports, which is more than they had in all of 2016. Another company said they've seen a tenfold increase in inquiries since February.
And it's no wonder. North Korea has amped up its nuclear and ballistic missile testing in recent months, despite U.N. sanctions and international condemnation, and has threatened an "all-out war" against the U.S. and its allies. In March, three of those test missiles fell into Japanese waters. Meanwhile, the Japanese government has begun ordering emergency evacuation drills for civilians.
Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon recently visited a bunker model made by Osaka-based company Shelter Co. It was built into the basement of the CEO's suburban home. Such bunkers, which cost about $225,000 and typically take four months to build, are made from 12-inch-thick concrete, sealed with fireproof blast doors, and can hold up to 13 people. A Shelter Co. order comes equipped with gas masks, a hand-powered generator, an air purifier that blocks radiation and poison gas, and an exit tunnel.
"I felt like I was photographing a very old movie set," Kim told Wired. "The shelter reminded me of scenes I watched in doomsday movies, a safe place for a lonely survivor from nuclear war or zombies' attacks."
Below, take a tour of the eerie, dreamlike escape pod designed to save you from the end of days:
The entrance to Nishimoto's nuclear basement. | (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
A gas mask, a Geiger counter, and emergency goods. | (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Radiation-blocking air purifiers. | (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Nishimoto demonstrates how to manually operate the air purifier in case of a power outage. | (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
The nuclear shelter's exit tunnel. | (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)