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Japan

Naked Japanese hermit, 82, forced to leave the remote island where he had hoped he might die

Masafumi Nagasaki had lived on a Japanese island since 1989, but was taken to civilisation over concerns that his health might be failing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2018, 4:42am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2018, 10:32pm

An 82-year-old hermit who has lived naked on a remote Japanese island for almost 30 years has been taken from his home because of concerns that his health might be failing.

Masafumi Nagasaki had lived in Sotobanari, in a chain of islands near Taiwan, since 1989 and stuck to a strict daily regimen, according to news.com.au, a website for several Australian newspapers. His morning routine included exercises, followed by several hours of beach cleaning with a pair of white gloves and a rake.

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“I have never seen a beach as clean as his, not even in the most luxurious island resorts,” said filmmaker Alvaro Cerezo, who made a recent video about the island where Nagasaki lived.

Nagasaki left a job on Japan’s main island, Honshu, to pursue his solitary life.

Cerezo told news.com.au that the hermit was removed in April because because at least one person “saw him on the island and it seems like he was weak”. The move came despite Nagasaki’s intention to stay there until the end.

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“I’ve already told my family I will die here,” he said in Cerezo’s video. “My wish is to die here without bothering anyone … I want to be killed by a typhoon so that nobody can try to save me.”

Cerezo said the people who saw Nagasaki “called the police and they took him back to civilisation and that’s it. He couldn’t even fight back because he was weak. They won’t allow him to return,” he said, adding that Nagasaki is now living in government housing on a nearby island.

“He was kicked out of the island,” Cerezo said. “His health is OK, he was probably only sick or had the flu, but they won’t allow him to go back anymore. He cannot go there, it’s over.”

News.com.au reported that Nagasaki spent his first few years on the island clothed, but when a typhoon swept through and destroyed his few belongings, he realized that “wearing clothes here was completely out of place for me.”

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“Walking around naked doesn’t really fit in with normal society, but here on the island it feels right, it’s like a uniform,” he told Reuters in 2012.

“If you put on clothes you’ll feel completely out of place.”

He did, however, get dressed for a weekly trip to a nearby island for supplies, which he bought with money sent from his family.