Smiling Japanese Man Is World’s Oldest


    13 February 2020

    A Japanese man who believes in smiling has become the world's oldest male, Guinness World Records reports.

    Chitetsu Watanabe was born in Niigata in northern Japan in 1907. He received a certificate recognizing him as the world's oldest man Wednesday at a healthcare center in the city. It confirmed he was 112 years and 344 days old.

    The former record holder was Masazo Nonaka, another Japanese, who died last month. The oldest living woman, Kane Tanaka, is also Japanese. She is 117 years old.

    Chitetsu Watanabe, 112, celebrates after being awarded as the world's oldest living male by Guinness World Records, in Joetsu, Niigata prefecture, northern Japan Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (Kyodo News via AP)
    Chitetsu Watanabe, 112, celebrates after being awarded as the world's oldest living male by Guinness World Records, in Joetsu, Niigata prefecture, northern Japan Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (Kyodo News via AP)

    Until about 10 years ago, Watanabe did bonsai, the Japanese traditional art of growing small sculpted trees. His work appeared at shows.

    These days, he loves eating desserts, such as sweet custards, Guinness said.

    Watanabe attended an agricultural school, and completed a study program there. He then moved to Taiwan to work at Dai-Nippon Meiji Sugar.

    He lived in Taiwan for 18 years. He and his wife Mitsue had five children, Guinness also reported.

    After the end of World War II, Watanabe returned to Niigata, Japan. He worked for the local government until retirement. He also grew fruit and vegetables on the family farm.

    Asked about the secret to his long life, Watanabe says: Don't get angry and keep smiling.

    I'm Susan Shand.

    The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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    Words In This Story

    certificate n. an official document

    sculptv. to form a shape from marble, wood or other product

    dessert – n. sweet food eaten at the end of a meal

    custard n. a creamy sweet dessert