After 29 Years The Japanese Robinson Crusoe Has To Leave His Island
After 29 Years The Japanese Robinson Crusoe Has To Leave His Island
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After 29 Years The Japanese Robinson Crusoe Has To Leave His Island

Masafumi Nagasaki, an 82-year-old naked hermit, is no longer healthy enough to continue his peaceful life on the Japanese island Sotobanari. Here’s the story of an unusual character.

For 29 years he lived on the outskirts of civilisation, completely naked, or almost so. Equipped with just his sandals, Masafumi occupied the small island of Sotobanari, in the south of the Japanese archipelago. Like Robinson Crusoe, he mastered the art of survival in wild nature. Except that, unlike Crusoe, he chose this lifestyle himself.

A whirlwind of a life

Information about his life is sparse; he is a hermit, after all. But a close source gave a few juicy details about him in The Guardian. According to Alvaro Cerezo, an explorer who he crossed paths with in 2014, Masafumi was married a long time ago. For a period of time, Masafumi’s life was divided between photography and working in a factory (in Osaka). That was before he decided to start living in harmony with nature, buck naked. So what served as the lightbulb moment?

As he explained to Cerezo, it wasn’t nature which called to him. Describing himself as a ‘city man with no outdoor experience,’ he planned to withdraw from society for just 2 years. 2 years exactly, before a typhoon destroyed half of the island and its habitat. Instead of going back to old ways, Masafumi chose survival.

However, once a week he bought himself cakes with his sister’s money. A bit of cheating can’t hurt anyone. Now though, everything seems finished. At the age of 82, Masafumi Nagasaki was recently found sick and transported to hospital in Ishigaki. He was forbidden from returning to his past lifestyle, as this could prove fatal for his weakened body. However, Masafumi only wants to ‘die (in Sotobanari) without bothering any one.’ He even imagined the modus operandi: ‘I want to be killed by a typhoon, so nobody can try to save me.’

By Oliver Davis
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