'Naked Hermit', 82, who lived a life of seclusion on an uninhabited island for 3 decades, forced back into civilization

Before "retiring" from civilization, Masafumi Nagasaki worked in the entertainment industry as a well-respected photographer.


                            'Naked Hermit', 82, who lived a life of seclusion on an uninhabited island for 3 decades, forced back into civilization
(Getty Images)

For three decades, a Japanese man left the city life to live a life of solitude on an island, but now authorities have told him he cannot do that anymore due to his deteriorating health.

Japanese authorities forced Masafumi Nagasaki, 82, to return to civilization after he was found "unwell" on the kilometer-wide Sotobanari island -- in Japan's tropical Okinawa prefecture and located closer to Taiwan than Tokyo -- where he was the only inhabitant.

Since 1989, the 'naked hermit' lived in solitude on the island and was discovered by a traveler who makes a living writing about castaway stories.

Nagasaki was evicted from the island -- where there is no running water -- after someone found him looking 'weak' and disheveled, according to Alvaro Cerezo, a writer and filmmaker who spoke to news.com.au. As of now, the hermit has been shifted to a government house 60 km away in Ishigaki city after law enforcement authorities were reported of his condition.

According to Cerezo, Nagasaki's island life is "over" and he isn't allowed to return despite his health being "okay" and that he "probably only had the flu" when he was found.

“The Japanese authorities forced Nagasaki to go to a hospital with no hope of returning to his island,” Cerezo said.

“His dream days in the paradise are over.”

The castaway man's story first made headlines back in 2012.

He gave up his life in the metro back in the early nineties and set up base on his own in the tiny island of Sotobanari. Nagasaki had been married previously and fathered two children before he left to the island for a life of isolation.

The kidney-shaped island is surrounded by dangerous currents, such that local fishermen very rarely cast their nets to catch fish in the region.

Before "retiring" from civilization, Nagasaki worked in the entertainment industry as a well-respected photographer.

"I don't do what society tells me, but I do follow the rules of the natural world. You can't beat nature so you just have to obey it completely," he said.

"That's what I learned when I came here, and that's probably why I get by so well."

His sister sent him $100 every month which he used to get water and his staple food of rice cakes from a nearby village, to which he paddled in the few items of clothing he had left. He would boil the rice cakes for over four to five times on a regular day. According to Cerezo, he didn't spend more than two or three hours in the village. The 82-year-old constructed a water system using broken cooking pots which caught rain and gave him water to use for shaving and bathing.

Before he left the island, Cerezo and his team wanted to learn more about his decision to give up life in the city and so they spent five days with him in Sotobanari.

During this time, Nagasaki did not wear any clothes as he had lost most of his possessions after a typhoon ravaged his camp.

However, that did not deter Nagasaki from living the life he intended to.

“Wearing clothes here was for me completely out of place,” he said.

"Walking around naked doesn't really fit in with normal society, but here on the island it feels right, it is like a uniform."

Every day, Nagasaki would clean his camp, try to avoid insect bites, and spend time stretching in the sun.

He wanted the island of Sotobanari to be his final resting place.

"Finding a place to die is an important thing to do, and I've decided here is the place for me," he said.

"It hadn't really occurred to me before how important it is to choose the place of your death, like whether it's in a hospital or at home with family by your side. 

"But to die here, surrounded by nature — you just can't beat it, can you?"

Cerezo found that the 82-year-old recluse lived in a tent and kept a wristwatch to maintain his highly strict schedule.

“Masafumi Nagasaki was an absolutely beautiful human being but, at the same time, he was extremely disciplined,” he wrote.

“I never saw Nagasaki walking barefoot: despite living in the nude he always used cream colored sandals to protect his feet.”

A beautiful website was created by Cerezo as a tribute to Nagasaki and his unconventional lifestyle. 

We recommend that you check out a short film posted in its entirety on Docastaway - Desert Island Experiences, Cerezo's channel on YouTube.