TOKYO (Sept. 15, 2005)–On a remote, wooded island 470 miles off the coast of Chile, Japanese explorer Daisuke Takahashi believes he has found the location of the hut where Scottish privateer Alexander Selkirk, who likely inspired the Daniel Defoe classic “Robinson Crusoe,” lived during the four years and four months he was marooned on the island 300 years ago.
Intrigued by the question of how a lone man could adapt to survive in such an unfamiliar environment, Takahashi wanted to find where and how Selkirk lived while stranded on the South Pacific island now known as Robinson Crusoe from 1704 to 1709. Aided by an islander’s recollection of a dwelling high up on an abandoned trail, Takahashi and his international team, funded by the National Geographic Society’s Expeditions Council, began excavations. The most telling evidence that Takahashi found to link Selkirk to the site was a small blue tip from copper navigational dividers, a tool commonly used by sailors of the period and almost certainly belonging to Selkirk.
The story of Takahashi’s discovery is chronicled in the October 2005 issue of National Geographic magazine, which is published in 27 local-language editions, including Spanish and Japanese.
Takahashi, 38, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tokyo’s Meiji University in 1990 and worked in advertising for over a decade while also pursuing his love for exploration. A professional author and explorer since 2003, he has taken part in numerous expeditions around the world, including to the Sahara Desert, Amazon rain forest, Galápagos Islands, Antarctica, Yemen, Oman, Israel, Russia’s Sakhalin Island, Australia, Micronesia and Tahiti.
Takahashi is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London and The Explorers Club in New York. He is the author of the book “In Search of Robinson Crusoe.”