Sotobanari Island (外離島, Sotobanari-jima, Yaeyama: Fukabanari; Okinawan: Fukabanari) is one of the Yaeyama Islands, within the Sakishima Islands, at the southern end of the Ryukyu Islands. It is to the west of Iriomote Island, its nearest large neighbour. It is administered as part of the town of Taketomi, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The small island (about 1 km; 1000 yards in diameter), whose name means outer distant island, is vegetated, but has no running water.

Sotobanari (Image courtesy of National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism)

Sotobanari had one human inhabitant, an eighty-two-year-old man named Masafumi Nagasaki, who had lived there in semi-isolation for three decades (1989 - 2018), nude, and bought food and water from a settlement an hour away by boat weekly with ¥10,000 sent by family. He was featured on the Vice News segment "Japan's Naked Island Hermit".[1][2] In April 2018, the police forced Nagasaki to leave the island, as he became weak with age and had contracted an illness (suspected influenza). The Japanese government provided him with a bedroom and a small allowance. In 2022, Japanese authorities allowed Nagasaki travel to the island again, but he returned back to civilisation after visiting for only a few days with a documentary filmmaker, as he was too weak to sustain a life on the island.[3][4]

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  1. ^ Villar, Ruairidh (17 April 2012). "Japanese island man lives as naked hermit". Reuters. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  2. ^ Uchida, Yuka (30 December 2014). Japan's Naked Island Hermit. Vice Magazine. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Masafumi Nagasaki returning to his desert island in Japan". Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  4. ^ Krishnasai, C (30 June 2022). "Japan's 'naked hermit' who spent around 30 years on tropical island alone returns for final farewell". WION. Retrieved 27 July 2022.

Coordinates: 24°22′23″N 123°42′58″E / 24.37306°N 123.71611°E / 24.37306; 123.71611