Omantribune
Oman Tribune
Omantribune
Omantribune Search News
Web Oman
    Google Search Button
      Tribune
- Oman
- Soccer World Cup
- Other Top Stories
- Middle East
- Business
- Sports
- India
- Pakistan
- Asia
- Europe
- Americas
- Columnists
- Editorial
- Oman Mirror
- Special Features
- Cinema
- PDF Pages
- Weather
- Travel
- Currency Rate
- Hospitals
- Pharmacies
- Services
- Flight Timings
- Museum Timings
Omantribune Home Omantribune About Us Omantribune Advertising Information Omantribune Archives Omantribune Subscribe-Form Omantribune Jobs Omantribune Contact Us
Wednesday, July 30, 2014  
The man who saw three centuries
115-year-old Jiroemon Kimura of Japan is now the oldest man in recorded history, writes Kanoko Matsuyama

Jiroemon Kimura, a 115-year-old Japanese man born when Queen Victoria still reigned over the British Empire, became the oldest man in recorded history on Friday, according to record keepers.

Kimura, of Kyotango, western Japan, was born on April 19, 1897, in the 30th year of the Meiji era, according to Guinness World Records. That makes him 115 years and 253 days as of Friday, breaking the longevity record for men held by Christian Mortensen of California, who died in 1998 at the age of 115 years and 252 days. The oldest woman in recorded history, Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, died in 1997 at the age of 122.

“He has an amazingly strong will to live,” Kimura’s nephew Tamotsu Miyake, 80, said in an interview. “He is strongly confident that he lives right and well.”

Kimura is among 22 Japanese people on a list of the world’s 64 oldest people compiled by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, highlighting the challenges facing Japan as its population ages. A combination of the world’s highest life expectancy, the world’s second-largest public debt and a below- replacement birthrate is straining the nation’s pension system, prompting the government to curb payouts, raise contributions and delay the age of eligibility.

Japan’s average life expectancy at birth is 83 years, a figure projected to exceed 90 for women by 2050. The number of Japanese centenarians rose 7.6 per cent from a year earlier to 51,376 as of September, and there are 40 centenarians per 100,000 people in the country, which has the world’s highest proportion of elderly, according to Japan’s health ministry.

Kimura became the world’s oldest currently living person on December 17, when 115-year-old Dina Manfredini of Iowa died, according to London-based Guinness and the Gerontology Research Group. Manfredini was born 15 days before Kimura.

Kimura was in a hospital Friday morning, Yasuhiro Kawato, head of the section for elderly welfare at Kyotango’s city hall, said by phone.

“His condition has improved, and we’re not worried, but the doctors said it would be best if he stayed in the hospital into the new year,” Kawato said.

The world’s second-oldest living person, Japanese woman Koto Okubo, turned 115 on December 24.

Kimura lives with his grandson’s widow, Eiko Kimura, in a two-story wooden house he built in the 1960s. Eiko wakes him up every day at 7:30am and takes him by wheelchair to a dining room for breakfast consisting of porridge and miso soup with potatoes and vegetables. He has never suffered from serious diseases, can communicate and spends most of his time in bed, Eiko said.

Kimura, the third of six children, was born as Kinjiro Miyake in Kamiukawa, a fishing and farming village sandwiched between the mountains and the Sea of Japan. His parents, Morizo and Fusa Miyake, were farmers who grew rice and vegetables.

Only two years earlier, Japan’s success in the First Sino-Japanese War had established the nation as the dominant power in East Asia. Less than a year after Kimura was born, the sinking of the US battleship Maine in Havana Harbour would trigger the Spanish-American War.

According to Kimura’s nephew Tamotsu, the 115-year-old’s birthday is actually March 19. Official records say he was born April 19 because an official misprinted the month when records from merging towns were consolidated in 1955, the nephew said.

After finishing school at the age of 14 as the second-best student in his class, Kimura worked at local post offices for 45 years until his retirement in 1962 at the age of 65. He also worked at a government communication unit in Korea in the 1920s, when the peninsula was under Japanese rule, and returned to marry his neighbour Yae Kimura.

As his wife’s family didn’t have a male heir, he changed his name to Jiroemon Kimura, making him the ninth person in the family to bear the name. Since retiring, he has enjoyed reading newspapers and watching sumo wrestling on television. He sometimes helped his son farm until he was about 90 years old, Eiko Kimura said.

Kimura was a disciplined, serious man when he was younger, Miyake said. Even when he drank with his brothers, he would sit straight and keep quiet, Miyake said.

His wife, Yae, died 34 years ago at the age of 74. Four of Kimura’s five siblings lived to be more than 90 years old, and his youngest brother, Tetsuo, died at 100, Miyake said. Kimura’s living descendants include five children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

The United States has an estimated 80,000 centenarians, or about 25 per 100,000 people, according to researchers at the Okinawa Centenarian Study.

Washington Post-Bloomberg
NEWS UPDATES
Oman
Busaidy attends prayers, celebrations in Salalah
Eid shopping in Muttrah Souq brings back old memories
Ford plans festive offers to reward customers
Best Cars ’Winning Moments’ gets good response
Other Top Stories
Israeli shells flatten Gaza’s power plant
Clashes kill 30 in Benghazi in escalating Libya turmoil
Dozens killed, hurt in Xinjiang terror attack
Ebola hits Nigeria capital
Karzai’s cousin killed in ‘turban bomb’ attack
India
Deepening bonds with India is imperative: Kerry
Delhi makes arrangements to evacuate citizens from strife-hit Libya
‘Real culprits’ arrested in Bangalore rape case
Beijing defends personnel in PoK
Lessons in politeness for Income-Tax officials
Pakistan
76 killed, 3,000 hurt in Pakistan road accidents during Ramadan
Imran trying to malign judiciary, says Iftikhar
Middle East
Gazans flood packed UN school
Belgium to label occupied territory products
US court orders seizure of Kurdish crude from tanker off Texas
Italy sends jets to help douse Libya inferno
Two Australians face heat over Syria terror links
Nine-year-old killed in Sinai rocket attack
Asia
Former security chief faces graft probe in China
Japan teen who decapitated classmate ‘wanted to dissect’ someone
Manila to freeze actions that raise maritime tensions
Pope to visit Lanka, Philippines in Jan.
Business
BP sees more curbs on Russia hurting business
Flipkart raises $1b in funds to take on Amazon, drops IPO plan
Huawei H1 smartphone shipments surge 62%
UBS Q2 profit rises 15%
Airbus drops $2.2b order from Skymark
Bharti Q1 profit rises 61% despite African woes
Airlines seek independent guidance on airspace safety after Ukraine crash
Sony pins hopes on PlayStation to regain glory
BlackBerry buys German anti-eavesdropping firm
Microsoft faces China probe over monopoly actions
Europe
EU, US agree to impose sectoral curbs on Russia
Socialists leader favours federal Spain to end Catalonia row
More craters of unknown origin found in Siberia
UK to curb EU migrant benefits
41-storey ‘Gherkin’ tower worth $1b looks for buyer
Britons seen as boozers with bad eating habits
Sports
Bailey-Cole steps out of Bolt’s shadow
Serena blames weariness, virus for Wimbledon exit
Van Gaal relishes task of emulating Fergie at Utd
Golden glory for Indian grapplers
India women rout T&T, to face SA in must-win game
India face uphill battle against England
India’s top players have little respect for Chess Olympiad
New Zealand, Canada finish on top in mountain biking
Americas
US senate plan on snooping curbs on track
Officials defend Kerry from Israeli criticism over Gaza truce fiasco
US accuses Russia of violating treaty by testing cruise missile
US rocket blasts off with 2 spy satellites
Rare tornado knocks out power, damages buildings in Boston

Sports


International

© 2013 Oman Tribune. All rights reserved. Best viewed in 800 X 600 resolution