Japanese island man lives as naked hermit

Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:31am EDT
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By Ruairidh Villar

SOTOBANARI ISLAND, Japan (Reuters) - Dangerous currents swirl around Sotobanari island, which has not a drop of natural water, and local fishermen rarely land there.

But 76-year-old Masafumi Nagasaki has made this kidney-shaped island in Japan's tropical Okinawa prefecture his retirement home, with an unusual dress code: nothing at all.

Naked, he braves lashing typhoons and biting insects as a hermit in the buff.

"I don't do what society tells me, but I do follow the rules of the natural world. You can't beat nature so you just have to obey it completely," he said.

"That's what I learned when I came here, and that's probably why I get by so well."

The wiry Nagasaki, his skin leathered by the sun of two decades on the island, worked briefly as a photographer before spending years on the murkier side of the entertainment industry. When retirement came, he wanted to get far away from it all.

He chose Sotobanari, which is roughly a 1,000 meters across and means "Outer Distant island" in the local dialect. It lies off the coast of Iriomote island, far closer to Taiwan than to Tokyo.

His resolve was tested relatively soon into his stay when a massive typhoon swept over the island, scouring away most of the scrub he had counted on for shade, as well as carrying away the simple tent he lived in.   Continued...

Seventy-six-year-old naked hermit Masafumi Nagasaki sits at table made from polystyrene box as he eats a food on Sotobanari island, off western coast of Iriomote island, Okinawa prefecture, April 14, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer