Seventy-six-year-old naked hermit Masafumi Nagasaki looks at the sea from beach on Sotobanari island, off the western coast of Iriomote island, Okinawa prefecture, April 14, 2012. Dangerous currents swirl around Sotobanari island, which has not a drop of natural water, and local fisherman rarely land there. But Nagasaki has made this kidney-shaped island in Japan’s tropical Okinawa prefecture his retirement home.
Masafumi Nagasaki sits at a table made from polystyrene box as he eats. “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,” said Nagasaki.
Nagasaki washes utensils on the beach. He throws on clothes once a week for a trip to a settlement an hour away by boat, where he buys food and drinking water with money sent to him by his family.
Nagasaki walks through the jungle on Sotobanari Island. His primary food is rice cakes and he bathes with rain water collected in pots scattered around the tiny island.
Nagasaki speaks at his bedroom tent. “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 said. “If you put on clothes you’ll feel completely out of place.”
Nagasaki smokes on the beach. He used to work in the entertainment industry as a photographer before retiring as a naked hermit.
“Finding a place to die is an important thing to do, and I’ve decided here is the place for me,” says Nagasaki.
“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?”