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Chitetsu Watanabe
Chitetsu Watanabe

TOKYO: A 112-year-old Japanese citizen who has been recognised as the world’s oldest living man said laughter and smiling was his secret to longevity.

Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907, pumped his fist after he was handed a certificate by a Guinness World Records official at a nursing home in Niigata, where he lives.

“I look up to my father, no matter his age,” said Watanabe’s daughter Teruko Takahashi, 78.

Kyodo News said Watanabe was recognised as the oldest living man after the previous holder of the title, Masazo Nonaka from Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido, died on Jan 20, last year at the age of 113.

Born to a family of farmers, Watanabe moved to Taiwan at 20 and spent 18 years there.

He returned to Japan after World War 2 and worked as a civil servant until his retirement.

He has five children, 12 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.

Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old Japanese woman from Fukuoka, is recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person currently, following the death in July 2018 of another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako from Kanagawa, at 117 years.

Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies and has been home to several people recorded as among the oldest humans to have ever lived.

According to Guinness, Jeanne Louise Calment of France was the oldest verified person to have ever lived. She died in 1997 at the age of 122.

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