Jiroemon Kimura (木村 次郎右衛門, Kimura Jirōemon, 19 April 1897 – 12 June 2013) was a Japanese supercentenarian who lived for 116 years and 54 days. He became the oldest verified male in history on 28 December 2012, when he surpassed the age of Christian Mortensen who had died in 1998. Kimura died from natural causes on 12 June 2013, in a hospital in his hometown of Kyōtango, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. He was the last verified living man born in the 19th century.
Kimura on his 115th birthday on 19 April 2012
Miyake Kinjiro (三宅 金治郎)
19 April 1897
|Died||12 June 2013|
(aged 116 years, 54 days)
|Occupation||Postal worker and farmer|
|Spouse(s)||Yae Kimura (1904–1978) (m. ?–1978; her death)|
|Parent(s)||Morizo and Fusa Miyake|
Kimura became the oldest living man in Japan upon the death of Tomoji Tanabe on 19 June 2009, the world's oldest living man upon the death of Walter Breuning on 15 April 2011,[a] the oldest living person in Japan upon the death of Chiyono Hasegawa on 2 December 2011, and the world's oldest living person upon the death of Dina Manfredini on 17 December 2012, until his own death.
Early life and educationEdit
Kimura was born as Kinjiro Miyake (三宅 金治郎, Miyake Kinjirō). According to records, he was born on 19 April 1897, in the fishing village of Kamiukawa, the third of six children born to farmers Morizo and Fusa Miyake. According to Kimura's nephew, Tamotsu Miyake, Kimura was actually born on 19 March 1897, but his birthday was instead recorded as 19 April 1897, by mistake in 1955 when records from neighbouring towns were consolidated and redone. He finished school second in his class at age 14 and commenced working from local post offices around the age of 17. This account of Kimura's birth date has subsequently been challenged by re-validation research; please see the "Age verification" section below for more details about this.
Marriage and careerEdit
In the 1920s, Kimura also worked as a government communications worker in Korea under Japanese rule. Upon returning from Korea, he married his neighbour, Yae Kimura (1904–1978). Since his wife's family lacked a male heir, he changed his name to Jiroemon Kimura, becoming the ninth member of the family to bear that name. He retired in 1962 at the age of 65, having worked in post offices for 45 years. After retiring he turned to farming until the age of 90.
Four of Kimura's siblings lived past the age of 90, and his youngest brother died at the age of 100. Kimura had 7 children (5 of whom outlived him), 14 grandchildren (13 surviving), 25 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great-grandchildren. Kimura was health-conscious and active. He woke up early in the morning and read newspapers with a magnifying glass. Also, he enjoyed talking to guests and followed live parliamentary debates on television. He credited eating small portions of food (hara hachi bun me) as the key to a long and healthy life. Kimura resided in Kyōtango, Kyoto Prefecture, with his eldest son's widow, 83, and his grandson's widow, 59.
On his 114th birthday on 19 April 2011, Kimura mentioned his survival of the 7.6 magnitude 1927 Kita Tango earthquake that hit Kyoto and killed over 3,000 people. Just four days before turning 114, upon Americanman Walter Breuning's death, Kimura became the oldest living man in the world as well as the last living man born in the 1800s. Breuning and Kimura were the only two pre-1900 born men who were still living in the 2nd decade of the 21st century (2011–2020).[b]
In October 2012, Kimura was presented with a certificate from Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday, relating to Kimura's appearance in the 2013 edition of Guinness World Records book; this was the second year in a row Kimura was recognized as the oldest living man in the world, as he also appeared in the book the year before. During the meeting, Kimura said he spent most of his time in bed.
On his 116th and final birthday, Kimura received many well-wishes, including a video message from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. He was hospitalized for pneumonia on 11 May 2013. On 23 May 2013, when 113-year-old James Sisnett of Barbados (born on February 22, 1900) died, Kimura became the last verified living man born in the 19th century. He died of natural causes in the hospital in his hometown of Kyōtango, western Japan, at 2:08 a.m. on 12 June 2013. His funeral was held on 14 June 2013. At the time of his death, Kimura was succeeded as the world's oldest living man by Salustiano Sanchez (born on June 8, 1901), who celebrated his 112th birthday just a couple of days earlier.
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- 長寿世界一 １１６歳の木村次郎右衛門氏死去 [World's oldest person, Jiroemon Kimura, dies at 116]. Sponichi Annex (in Japanese). Japan: Sports Nippon Newspapers. June 12, 2013. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
... died of old age at a hospital in Kyotango, Kyoto (老衰のため京都府京丹後市の病院で死去した)
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- いつまでも「輝く宝」で 木村次郎右衛門さん告別式 [Jiroemon Kimura's funeral – a sparkling jewel forever]. Kyoto Shimbun (in Japanese). June 14, 2013. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.