The World’s Oldest Man

News & Views - December 18th, 2012
Screen shot 2012-12-18 at 6.48.11 PM

A Japanese man named Jiroemon Kimura was born on April 19, 1897, making him, at 115 years of age, the oldest person in the world, according to the mayor of the town in which he still lives.

Yasushi Nakayama, the mayor of Kyotango, northern Kyoto prefecture, says that Kimura is the “pride of our town.”

AFP reports that he has 14 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and 13 great-great grandchildren. Quite a legacy and quite a life for the man who apparently has led a simple existence, was potentially too old to have fought in the second world war, saw Emperors come and go, and worked for the postal service in his younger days.

When Dina Manfredini died this month in the US, at the age of 115, she was 15 days older than Kimura. And, while Kimura has made numerous appearances on Japanese TV, his family officially said they did not want to comment on his becoming the oldest living person out of respect for the Iowa woman and her family.

Japanese people are said to have the highest life-expectancy in the world, at an average of 82.7 years. Their men, according to United Nations figures (which are disputed) are said to live to 79 while the women to 86.1 years.

Whether they have diet, lifestyle or environmental factors to thank for their longevity (an aging population can come with problems) Kimura and his family will be getting used to the question, ‘what is the secret?’