Accessibility links

Breaking News

Smiling Japanese Man Is World’s Oldest

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)
Smiling Japanese Man Is World’s Oldest
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:02:15 0:00

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.

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.


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