Japanese Man Who Lived on a Deserted Island for Nearly 30 Years Forced to Return to Civilization
Masafumi Nagasaki, the 82-year-old voluntary castaway who has been living on the isolated 1-kilometer-wide Sotobanari island in Okinawa prefecture (located closer to Taiwan than Japan) was recently brought back to civilization after nearly three decades of living alone.
Nagasaki, who is now being considered a “voluntary castaway who has lived the longest time on a deserted island,” arrived on Sotobanari more than 29 years ago, according to Spanish explorer Alvaro Cerezo of Docastaway.
Cerezo, a person who documents island castaways, spent five days alone with Nagasaki in 2014 where he saw firsthand how the elderly man lived in total isolation from the outside world. Despite being alone on the island, Nagasaki has a survival system that he lives by, rules that he, and in this case, Cerezo, has to follow.
In his article, Cerezo documented the experience he had during his time with Nagasaki, who soon later became widely known as the “Naked Hermit.”
During his stay there, he had to follow several strict rules, including: “before entering your tent you have to wash your feet with this bowl of water that I have left at the entrance” and that “there are just two toilets on the island, one at each end of this beach, but first you have to look for which way the current goes. You will only go to the toilet at the end of the beach where the current is going, that way the faeces will go with the current.”
What’s interesting in his experience, however, was the fact that Nagasaki still maintains the punctuality that the Japanese are very well known for. During his second day on the island, the elderly man became quite furious with the explorer when he showed up to the latter’s camp five minutes late.
What’s even remarkable is the fact that he cleans the beach of any things that get washed up by the water like coral and wood. Cerezo even acknowledged that Nagasaki’s home island is much cleaner compared to other high-end resorts.
He first arrived on the island back in 1989 when he was around 53 years old. It was unclear what his past life was before he became a castaway as he did not exactly go into details about it when he was with Cerezo, noting that he neither doesn’t want to talk nor hear about it.
However, it is believed that he worked as a photographer before and he had a wife with two children. Aside from being a photographer, Nagasaki also had other jobs as a factory worker in Osaka, a worker at a hotel in Shizuoka, and also as a barman in a hostess club in Osaka.
The castaway arrived on the island fully clothed, but they were all gone and washed away after just a year of staying there due to the several storms and typhoons that hit the area.
“Finding a place to die is an important thing to do, and I’ve decided here is the place for me,” Nagasaki told Reuters in 2012, the time when his story was first released to the public. “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?”
However, it appears like this may not happen after all as he was recently evicted from the island after someone saw him in April 2018.
“He was kicked out of the island, someone saw him on the island and it seems like he was weak,” Cerezo told News.com.au. “They called the police and they took him back to civilisation and that’s it. He couldn’t even fight back because he was weak. They won’t allow him to return.”
Luckily, Nagasaki, who is now living in a government house in Ishigaki, which is the nearest city to the island about 60 kilometers away, is doing better.
“His health is OK, he was probably only sick or had the flu [when he was taken] but they won’t allow him to go back any more, he cannot go there, it’s over,” Cerezo added.