The ‘Modern’ Robinson Crusoe

For the past 20 years, Nagasaki lived on the island alone, walks around in the nude and watches the waves go by.Situated off the most southern tip of Japan lies the remote island of Sotobanari, which for the past twenty years had only one resident: Japan’s version of the novel character Robinson Crusoe.

The island is uninhabited by humans, except for one, because of constant threads of flooding and the lack of natural water sources. It rarely gets visitors and Sotobanari is so far south, the Island is actually closer to Taiwan than Japan.

Yet that did not deter one man from calling the island home. ‘Being deserted and alone’ were exactly the qualities 76 year old recluse Masafumi Nagasaki was looking for.

The ‘islander’ says he is one with nature and knows this is the place he wants to die. He lives on rice cakes, he buys once a week in the ‘real’ world with money his brother gives him, and collects rainwater to drink and cook with.

Still, the modern Robinson Crusoe says he doesn’t just live on the Island, instead, he obeys the rules of nature.

“I use to wear clothes,” says Nagasaki, “but all too soon you find you’re out of place.”

“I don’t want to blindly adhere to the rules of society. I want to adhere to the rules of natures. You can’t beat mother nature, so why not join her,” says the tanned senior.

The recluse, whose daily routine begins with stretching exercises to keep young and limber, does have to deal with typhoons, extreme climate and local insects, some of them with a nasty sting.

Sotobanari, meaning ‘the most remote island’ is the place Nagasaki chose to spend his days until his end has come.

“Finding an ideal place to die is crucial to anyone,” says the loner. “I’ve decided for myself that this is my place. I rather die here than in a hospital or rest home.”

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