An old man who lives naked and alone on a tropical Okinawa island, subsisting only off the natural bounty of his monthly care package, has lately been picked up by the international media – although Japanese have been rather less sympathetic, with some denouncing him as a mere hikikomori or homeless, or worse yet, a dirty NEET…


Lately 76-year-old “hermit” Masafumi Nagasaki has been attracting international media attention for spending the last 20 years living naked on the otherwise uninhabited remote Okinawa island of Sotobanari – most of it fairly admiring, such as this piece from the Daily Mail:

It is a world away from a traditional retirement home in the sun. The currents that surround the kidney-shaped island are so dangerous local fisherman rarely cast nets in the area.

There is no natural water and since setting up home there Mr Nagasaki has had to brave powerful typhoons and biting insects.

Such difficulties have not deterred the wiry hermit who no longer wears clothes apart from for his once a week trip to a nearby island to pick up water and rice cakes with a small $120 donation sent from his family.

He said: ‘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.

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

Ironically Mr Nagasaki says he spent years in the limelight working in the entertainment industry before he decided to get far away from civilisation.


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 rain 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 isn’t the healthiest of lifestyles, he concedes – but that isn’t the point.

‘Finding a place to die is an important thing to do, and I’ve decided here is the place for me,’ he said.

‘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?’

A TV spot:


Actual Japanese seem unimpressed, feeling particularly short-changed by the less than self-reliant lifestyle this “hermit” enjoys:

“Come on – he’s smoking!”

“He’s living off ¥10,000 a month from his sister – he’s just playing at self-reliance.”

“It would be a great tale if he did not just live off the monthly handouts.”

“If his sister is old as well, when she kicks the bucket it’s over for him.”

“Looks fun.”

“He’s just another loafer. Whether Akiba or some island, the only difference is where he has set up his lair.”

“Just a super-NEET.”

“At least he’s honest – what a story it would be if he didn’t get all the handouts.”

“Isn’t this trespass? He surely doesn’t own the island.”

“I laughed at the handout and the smokes. Interesting hobby he has there, anyway.”

“Dress him properly and he’d look just like all the old beggars we have in Tokyo.”

“OK, so the reports say he had two kids with a wife 20 years younger than him he married when he was 40, and then upped and left them in his fifties. Isn’t this just a bit scummy?”

“His elder sister must be in her 80s… how long is he going to rely on her?”

“Isn’t he just some dirty homeless guy? Why send TV crews to fawn over him?”

“Kind of a weak uninhabited island lifestyle with the allowance there. Although I am jealous.”

“At least fish for yourself or something.”

“He is a true hikikomori! [literally: somebody who shuts themselves away from society] He’s your greatest senpai alright!”

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    Comment by Anonymous
    02:28 21/04/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    I don't get it 120 dollars is not much per month.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:00 21/04/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    2ch is full of scum, who'd rather watch someone die than barely scrape by.

    Avatar of shiroki
    Comment by shiroki
    05:18 21/04/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    NEETs trying to feel better calling others NEET.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:06 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    and another NEET trying to feel better by pointing out that other NEET is calling others NEET

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:26 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Regular NEETs are mad at the Super Warlock NEET *laughs*
    Are U NEET Enough?!?

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:52 22/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Shouldn't japanese retirement be a bit more than 120 usd even if you haven't worked a day?

    Avatar of Senjou
    Comment by Senjou
    13:22 22/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Stop NEETing around, but then who am I to say?

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:28 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Also shows that they don't even understand the category that they've been placed in.

    The guy is past the retirement age, means that the whole concept of NEET isn't applicable to him.

    It would be like if Ishihara were to decide to retire, and live off the royalties of his books, and they started calling him a NEET as opposed to demented jackbooted thug.

    One is a valid description, the other one isn't.

    And to borrow a phrase from Alice.. That's not a NEET thing to do.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:44 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    @04:00 And how is SanCom any different? There's just as much scum over here.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:56 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Scum? We are no scum sir. We are NEET xD

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:54 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Welcome to the Internet...

    Avatar of Blackbird
    Comment by Blackbird
    20:26 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's not much but it's enough to survive

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:52 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    there are nothing to buy. cast away in uninhibited island with no shopping center or shop, no bills to pay,no wife to listened to, no boss to pleased, no society to pretend,if only there were broadband there,i would keen to join him. oh wait, is there any primary school nearby? if it is than its perfect.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:12 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    It is indeed puzzling. For normal people that wouldn't even cover the rent. Isn't this guy a pensioner, and shouldn't he by rights be paid a pension?
    But of course, he doesn't pay rent, and if it only has to cover living expenses it's a pretty big sum. Wait... a thought just struck me... what if he's living like that partially out of necessity? He may be perfectly happy, sure, but he couldn't live in normal society on such a small sum.

    Comment by Anonymous

    >>apart from for his once a week trip to a nearby island to pick up water and rice cakes with a small $120 donation sent from his family.

    Moar liek $480/mo amirite? You can get a bachelor apartment in a lot of cities for that, let alone just rice cakes, water and cigarettes.

    Learn to READ.

    Seriously, this guy isn't even a hermit. He fucking BUYS CIGARETTES AND EVEN HIS WATER TO DRINK. I agree with the elevens- he's just a fucking deadbeat bum on a deserted island.

    Comment by Anonymous

    true, but it's 120 a week.
    If you don't pay rent or utilities that's more than enough to live comfortably.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:43 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    120 dollars a MONTH GAWD DAMN IT!

    He goes to the mainland once a week. He gets the money once a month.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:08 21/04/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)


    Comment by Anonymous
    21:59 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    07:22 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    cast awway on the moon

    Avatar of Kiljoy616
    Comment by Kiljoy616
    11:35 05/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yes exactly what came to mind.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:08 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    lol, this was precisely what i was thinking. i love that film!

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:16 21/04/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    People complaining a hermit doesn't get a job? Next they will complain that buddhist monks aren't buying enough product to stimulate the economy.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:54 21/04/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Japanese used to take care of their elderly. It was one of the best aspects of Chinese/Korean/Japanese culture. Nowdays, receiving mere $120 in support makes a retired old man "NEET." Sad. No wonder the country is going downhill.

    Avatar of Gitami
    Comment by Gitami
    12:27 22/04/2012 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Used to be the young could take care of the old. Now the old's living longer and not letting the young have the income to support them. A mixed trade off since the old would have to curtail their lifestyle if they're taken care of, now they're self sufficient but the young can't have decent income.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:35 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    try to take care of a majority that's retired with a minority that it's in working age and you'll get Portugal/Greece/Spain

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:31 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    "a minority that it's in working age" with a 25% rate of unemployment

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:54 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Call it the amazing affects of modern society.

    Next, find the retirement home...

    Avatar of Kiljoy616
    Comment by Kiljoy616
    11:37 05/05/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Are you mental, people are trying to take care of them selves at 20 where are they going to get the time and resources. Plus people use to live to 50 may 60 now they are hitting 85+

    Those days are gone, and with 7 billion and climbing population I want to see you take care of multiple geriatrics.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:27 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    WELL THEY'RE AREN'T!!!! Those lazy monks...(lol)

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:29 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not just a hermit, a hermit well past retirement age. On top of that, 10k yen/month could easily be off of investment income pre-retirement.

    Let the old guy live out his life the way he wants, dammit!

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:02 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Or it could be his State pensioner's check, just that he has it delivered to his family, who then send him the dosh by mail (and who says that they're sending him everything he's entitled to, considering the whole pension scam thing which seems rather prevalent in Japan. The whole not notifying the government that someone has passed on, just to keep on cashing in those checks).

    I mean, he's past 60, and at that point, he becomes entitled to his State pension.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:04 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yea... I don't see the problem. He's not relying on society and society isn't relying on him. He lives off what he finds in the wild.

    Comment by Anonymous

    and that includes that 120 dollars a week? If you are only buying food, you can get fuck ton of food for 120 dollars a week. Also when you are that old, you don't eat much.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:36 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    the article says $120 a week.
    the 2chan comment says ¥10,000 a month.

    one of them is wrong.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:16 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Such difficulties have not deterred the wiry hermit who no longer wears clothes apart from for his once a week trip to a nearby island to pick up water and rice cakes with a small $120 donation sent from his family."

    "He’s living off ¥10,000 a month from his sister – he’s just playing at self-reliance."

    Reading comprehension is not your strong point, is it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:55 22/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    10,000 yen is 120 dollars >_>

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:57 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Err.. from the article?

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:38 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Dude it is 100 dollars a month. WTF did you read 120 from?

    Avatar of konakona
    Comment by konakona
    08:03 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Both wrong. $120 (¥10,000) a month. Not $100 a month, not $120 a week. :P

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:18 21/04/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Oh look... it's Muten Roshi. :D

    Avatar of Pyrus
    Comment by Pyrus
    20:47 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    A pet turtle and a porn stash will complete the image!

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:19 21/04/2012 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Am I the only one who feels respect for this guy??

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:30 21/04/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    nope you're not the only one, i feel ashamed of being in this society where the ones who are not 'normal' are considered weird or not deserving,and we call ourselves civilized..

    Comment by Anonymous

    @05:30 That sounds the same way Otaku are criticized/judged.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:22 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not at all. He seems like an awesome guy.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:44 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    No, the man has earned the right to live how he chooses. I respect his choice to live a simple existence.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:20 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I second that.

    Avatar of viewtifu1
    Comment by viewtifu1
    05:16 21/04/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    He isn't a Neet! He teaches the kamehameha to all those worthy~

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:30 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Typical japanese all pics are censored (°∀°)

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:32 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    why? do you want to see something?(-_-')

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:36 21/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Why? Are you so insecure that seeing something would upset you?

    Post Comment »


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