The Contestant on Hulu chronicles the story of Nasubi, a Japanese reality star who unwittingly gained fame for starring in a bizarre production that required him to live alone, naked, and deprived of basic needs for a year. It explores the impact of the show on Nasubi’s well-being. 

Nasubi is an advocate and activist for his hometown, Fukushima, which is recovering from a nuclear disaster

Nasubi (real name: Tomoaki Hamatsu) won 10 million yen, around $65,000, for his appearance in the show. “The [amount] of money that I have received was way more than a college kid could earn in a year. At that time, that was massive. But looking back, did I get enough? That, I’m not sure,” Nasubu told Decider

Despite earning what he considered to be a considerable sum, Nasubi struggled to reintegrate into a society that viewed him as a celebrity. Nasubi didn’t know that his experiences in the reality show were broadcast to millions of people. The Contestant features footage of a stunned Nasubi struggling to figure out why a live studio audience is cheering for him. 

Nasubi found his purpose in life following the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that hit his hometown, Fukushima. He told Time: “When the earthquake happened, of course I wanted to help my local people. I realized the struggles of my past could be useful in a situation like that, which was a surprise to me. I came to the conclusion that maybe that’s what it all for and this was my destiny.”

He has since worked as an advocate and activist for Fukushima. In 2016, he summited Everest to raise awareness about his hometown. “I realize the road to decommissioning the nuclear plants is still a long battle. But I would like people to know the Fukushima of today, feel hope by visiting Fukushima and watch Fukushima rebuild,” he told the Associated Press.