Eight-two-year-old Masafumi Nagasaki is being called the Japanese Robinson, a reference to Robison Crusoe, the fictional castaway who lived on a deserted island. Now, after living on a remote island for nearly 30 years, Nagasaki has been forced back into civilization by the Japanese government.
Masafumi Nagasaki arrived on the island of Sotobanari, on the Yaeyama Islands, an archipelago in the southwest of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, in 1989 and lived a life in solitude until he became known as the “naked hermit” as a 76-year-old in 2012. The island is one of the few that remain deserted in Japan where according to locals, even fisherman rarely stop...
It’s unclear how Mr Nagasaki ended up on Sotobanari in the first place...
Mr Nagasaki said he was working in a factory in Osaka when one day a colleague told him about a mysterious archipelago and since then he dreamt of escaping from civilisation. One day, when on a flight, he was “horrified” by the amount of pollution he saw in the sea below and “exploded”. So the self-confessed “city man with no outdoor experience” packed his bags and found his remote island hideaway. He thought he would stay perhaps two years max, but ended up clocking almost 30 years...
Alvaro Cerezo of Docastaway, a company that provides remote island experiences, tracks castaway types like Nagasaki and spent five days with him in 2015. During that time, he was able to interview him in the place he's lived peacefully since 1989:
It had been Nagasaki's wish to die on the island. He told Cerezo in the interview, "I have no option, I’ve already told my family I will die here. My wish is to die here without bothering any one, that’s why I don’t want to get sick or injured. I want to be killed by a typhoon, so nobody can try to save me. To die here is the best, its just perfect for me.”
“He was kicked out of the island, someone saw him on the island and it seems like he was weak,” Mr 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.”
Mr Cerezo... said that since being removed, Mr Nagasaki is now living in the nearest city to the island, Ishigaki, 60 kilometres away in a government house.
“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.”
Read this detailed blog post about Cerezo's visit with Nagasaki: I spent 5 days with Masafumi Nagasaki: the ‘naked’ Japanese castaway
Check out this tribute website Cerezo created for Nagasaki.