The Story of the “Naked Hermit” Who Lived On A Deserted Island For 30 Years, But Was Forced Back To Civilization

The sad story of a man who loved his island home.

Masafumi Nagasaki is known as the “Naked Hermit” and had been living alone on a tiny Japanese island for almost 30 years until very recently when police forced him to return to civilization.

He arrived on the island fully-clothed but his clothes eventually were lost and destroyed by the elements, hence his nickname!


Although no one is certain of the exact reason the 82-year-old man decided to live alone, he made the decision back in 1989 when he traveled to the incredibly small Sotobanari island and decided to stay there.

The island is less than a mile wide and is located in Okinawa prefecture.


Despite distancing himself from the world he kept a strict set of rules and guidelines that governed his everyday life. For instance, Masafumi Nagasaki had two “bathrooms” on opposite sides of the island. Each toilet was only to be used when the current was flowing away from the island.

The hermit also had a rule where one must wash their feet before entering a living area and thought time was very important. He even was mad when a visitor to his island was not punctual to one of their meetings!


Before he decided to live alone, it is believed that the Japanese man was a photographer and had a wife and two children. While the old gentleman had never revealed who he was before his move, he did speak about why he decided to make Sotobanari island his home.

“Finding a place to die is an important thing to do, and I’ve decided here is the place for me. 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 that, can you?” — Masafumi Nagasaki


Unfortunately for the 82-year-old recluse, it seems dying on the island has become impossible. In April, someone spotted him on the island and reported it to the police.


The hermit was likely suffering from an illness and when the police came he was too weak to fight back. He was taken back to the public to be treated and now is not allowed to go back to his island home.

The elderly man now lives in a government house in Ishigaki, a city nearest to his island.


What a sad ending for a man who spent close to 30 years of his life building a solitary life for himself surrounded by the nature that he loved so much.

Source: SFGate and Reuters