Home | News | World’s oldest man has died, aged 112
Chitetsu Watanabe poses next to calligraphy reading in Japanese 'World Number One' after he was awarded as the world's oldest living male in Joetsu, Niigata prefecture. Photo by JAPAN POOL / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT

World’s oldest man has died, aged 112

A Japanese man who received his certificate as the world’s oldest man with a raised fist and big smiles earlier this month, has died aged 112.

Chitetsu Watanabe received his Guinness World Records certificate on February 12th and the funeral home handling his services confirmed that he died on Sunday – eleven days later, according to the Japan Times.

He had not been able to eat recently and developed a fever and difficulty breathing a couple of days before his death, Japan’s nationally circulated newspaper Mainichi reported, citing family sources.

Mr Watanabe is survived by his five children, 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, Mainichi said.

He was born in 1907 and worked in Taiwan for 18 years. After returning to Niigata, northern Japan, he worked for the prefectural government until retirement.

In January 2019 Chitetsu said in an interview that the secret to his longevity was to “not to get angry and keep a smile on your face”. 

His daughter in law, Yoko, said: “I’ve lived together with him for over 50 years, and I’ve never seen him raise his voice or get mad.”

He grew fruit and vegetables on the family farm and loved cream puffs and bonsai, the Japanese traditional art of raising small sculpted trees.

Chitetsu was four years shy of the record for the oldest man ever, which had been held by Jiroemon Kimura (Japan), who was born on 19 April 1897 and passed away aged 116 years 54 days on 12 June 2013.

The current oldest living person is also Japanese, Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old woman.

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