Introducing my hero. The retired ex-photographer lives, naked and alone, on Sotobanari island, cut off from the rest of the world by typhoons and dangerous currents. Reuters has photos and philosophy from a man forging his own lifestyle:
76-year-old Masafumi Nagasaki has made this kidney-shaped island in Japan’s tropical Okinawa prefecture his retirement home. 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.
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 staple food is rice cakes, which he boils in water, eating whenever hunger strikes – sometimes four or five times a day. Water for bathing and shaving comes from rainwater caught in a system of battered cooking pots. Each day is conducted according to a strict timetable, starting with stretches in the sun on the beach. The rest is a race against time as he prepares food, washes and cleans his camp before the light fails and insects come out to bite.
“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 it, can you?”