Inside bizarre world of Japan’s ‘naked hermit’ who spent 29 years alone on a tropical island after shunning civilisation | The Sun

A JAPANESE man dubbed the ‘Naked Hermit’ spent 29 years living on a desert island in a bid to escape civilization.

Masafumi Nagasaki, who is now 87,had a bizarre existence on the island, spending his days in complete isolation.

He is believed to have worked as a photographer before he fled civilisation to live on the island of Sotobanari, which is just over a thousand yards wide.

Nagasaki struggled to adapt to modern society in Japan and wanted to do alone on the isolated island.

Just a year into his stay his clothes were washed away in a typhoon but Nagasaki found he preferred being naked.


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

He would catch water for washing and cooking from rain in a system of battered cooking pots.

Every so often he would travel to a nearby island using money sent from his family to his staple food of rice cakes, which he would boil four or five times a day.

He also ate fish and turtle eggs before he said his his affinity to nature led him to turn vegetarian.

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Living on the island had its perils and he had to dodge the deadly vipers that used to slither into his tent.

But living on the island took its toll and a local fisherman discovered him lying on the beach almost unconscious in 2018.

Officials sent to look after his welfare reported he was weak and frail to the Japanese government forced him to return to civilization. 

He was given an apartment in the city of Ishigaki but has struggled to adapt to his new life and to make friends, which was made worse by the Covid pandemic.

His story has been chronicled in a blog by Alvaro Cerezo, who documents island castaways.

“His tiny room became like his desert island where he could isolate himself, as it was the only place where he was able to live with clothes off and feel free like he did for the last 29 years,” said Cerezo.

“There was hardly anyone who could either understand his eccentric way of life or his extreme desire to live naked on a desert island.

“As a result, most people in his neighbourhood looked at him with contempt and a little bit of fear.”

Cerezo helped Nagasaki return to the island for a reunion with the place he lived in solitude for so long.

The elderly man can be seen becoming emotional as a boat returned him to the shoreline, where he hoisted his hands above his head.

Nagasaki has since returned to Ishigaki though he wasn’t too sad to leave.

“It seemed he was satisfied to have had the opportunity to bid ‘farewell’ to his island,” he said.

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Nagasaki has decided that he wants the island 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.

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