Naked Japanese hermit forced back into civilization after 29 years on deserted island

Originally published at:


I got Nagasaki’s side of the story. Would the government care to share their side? Why they deprived an old man his so nearly-attained dying wish?
Maybe it’s to send a signal that “free land” is a thing of the past and you have to live in someone’s debt in order to exist on this planet.


They should have let him live and die the way he wanted. He wasn’t hurting anyone or anything. Death with dignity is important.


This is a man who never knew pokemon. Weakened enough, he was captured. Now he’s the pokemon


Life is like that, sometimes: The good times end, we don’t get what we want; now it’s time for the guy to find a new dream.

Pretty passive way to describe what happened. He had what he wanted, and it was taken away from him. They could give it back to him, but they won’t. It’s not like the Wheel of Fate took it from him.


Oh that’s great. As he hasn’t payed any social contributions for 3 decades, his pension will probably be below existential minimum and he’ll be forced to live on social handouts.

1 Like

Easy enough to give up on the other guy’s dream. I hope he goes back, even though some government official says it’s over. The Japanese aren’t quitters. Remember it took an atom bomb to make them surrender.

Ganbatte oji-san!


So the self-confessed “city man with no outdoor experience” packed his bags and found his remote island hideaway.

That’s good enough for me.


Why do I have this nagging feeling some nosy white American turned him in?




Depressingly true.



My takeaways:

  1. “Desert island” and “Deserted island” are not interchangeable terms.

  2. He’s 82? I haven’t been that ripped since I was 17

  3. Snapping turtles and nude swimming are not a great mix.


You made me wonder about the reporter who caused the publicity in the first place…Ruairidh Villar from Reuters.

1 Like

Just spitballing, but I would guess that the local or national government has responsibility for the island, and when they knew there was someone very ill on it, they were compelled to treat him. And with that history, they couldn’t send him back. It would be best if they could take him back and send a doctor around once in a while instead of taking him prisoner, if the legal and social framework could stand it. Given the nature of Japanese bureaucracy, I doubt that’s in the cards.

Edited to add:
Totally still timely and apropos of this situation is Ikiru (To Live), one of Kurusawa’s most affecting films. It’s about a bureaucrat who has a short time to live, and is frustrated in carrying out his simple vision by the bureaucracy.


Would the government care to share their side?

Masafumi Nagasaki:
“Here, on the island I don’t do what people tell me to do, I just follow nature’s rules. You can’t dominate nature so you have to obey it completely.”

Government Authoritarian Asshole: “Well, we can’t have that now, can we?”

(I don’t why, but I can’t help but hear John Cleese saying that last line.)


That’s sad. The government should have just let him be. When I was younger I tried to convince my wife to go to Alaska and live off the land. I have survival experience, not so much then. She was smart. We probably would have died. After my divorce I got custody of my two boys. Once they grew up and out of the house, I seriously considered moving to Alaska and trying to live off the land. I’m glad I didn’t as now, for whatever reason I am saddled with knee and hip issues. I definitely would have died. But I can empathize with this old guy about getting away from civilization.

Oh well. That volleyball was starting to be a real pill anyway.


I mean, that’s the official reason for sure. “Responsibility” is the fuzzy word. If it made news and there are legions of citizens decrying the fate of the castaway, then go ahead and rescue him. But I can’t help wonder how many lost souls out there contemplate escape, but never follow through because they know they’ll be pulled back

Likely from wearing modern foot-wear with arch-supports. Try toe-shoes for a month or two and your problems may just disappear.