This Widow Lives All Alone On a Remote Island

The 81-year-old woman is the only inhabitant of the Dokdo Islands.

remote island
Dokdo island in Korea is home to a single resident: an 81-year-old widow. (Getty Images)
Getty Images

An 81-year-old widow is the sole, permanent resident living on a remote island still fought over by Japan and South Korea today.

If you’re Korean, you know the cluster of islands as the Dokdo Islands of which South Korea claims ownership. If you’re living in Japan, which also asserts ownership of the chain of isles, you’ll hear them be called Takeshima.

Kim Sin-yeol has been living on the island since 1991 when she and her husband made the interesting decision to move.

Although the couple were the island’s only inhabitants, they often saw policemen, lighthouse workers and the occasional tourist.

At times, bad weather on the remote island meant being cut off from the rest of the world for weeks at a time. For Kim, however, it was no issue as the surrounding waters were rich with fish and she was a trained “haenyeo”- a traditional female freediver.

Once Kim’s husband passed away living anywhere else never crossed her mind. “She said living on Dokdo is relaxing,” her son-in-law told CNN. “Being there, her mind is at ease.”

Currently Kim is staying with family in Korea as her home on the island is renovated. Once completed, she plans to return in April.

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