World’s Oldest Person Also Last Living Man From The 19th Century

Kyotango, Japan. Image: At by At
Kyotango, Japan – where Jiroemon Kimura is from. Image: At by At


Jiroemon Kimura is the oldest living human being.

Kimura, who lives in western Japan, is 116 years old. He’s the last man alive who has lived in three different centuries.

The only other man who was alive before the 20th century (before the year 1901) was James Emmanuel Sisnett, who died last week at age 113.

Not only is Kimura the oldest man living right now, he is also the oldest man who has ever lived whose birth age can be verified. “Verified” means proved to be true. There are other men who have said they are older than 116, but there wasn’t any way to be certain of the truth.

Kimura worked for the post office until he was 65 and then farmed until he was 90.

He isn’t the only one in his family to live a long time: four of his siblings lived to be 90 or older and one of his brothers made it to age 100.

One of the strangest things about Kimura’s age is that his hometown of Kyotango, Japan, is reported to have 95 centenarians, even though the population of the whole city is just 60,000. “Centenarian” means “over the age of 100.” (Kimura is actually a supercentenarian, because he has made it past the age of 110).

By comparison, in Russia, there are fewer than three centenarians for every 60,000 people. In Ontario, there are about nine centenarians for every 60,000 people.

Japan has many centenarians – more than 51,000, according Japan’s health ministry. The world’s oldest woman, Misao Okawa, is also Japanese.

Some health experts believe that the traditional Japanese diet (which is usually low in fat) may help these people live so long, although there are probably many reasons for each individual person.

If you are still in elementary school, Kimura was already over 100 when you were born!

UPDATE: Jiroemon Kimura passed away on June 12, 2013 in a hospital in Japan, where he had been undergoing treatment for pneumonia. The title of world’s oldest living person is now held by Misao Okawa, of Osaka, Japan. Ms. Okawa was born March 5, 1898. The oldest living man is now James McCoubrey, an American who was born in Canada on Sept. 13, 1901. He is the 32nd oldest living person–everyone older than him is a woman.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Imagine what life was like in 1897 when Jiroemon Kimura was born. Compare his life then with his life today. How would things such as transportation, technology, education, food and work be different?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
In your opinion, what factors contribute to someone living a long life? Use information from the article and your own ideas to brainstorm.

Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence  (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Age by Decades
A centenarian is someone between the ages of 100 and 109. An octogenarian is someone who is between 80 – 89 years old.
What word would you use to describe someone who is:
1. 90-99 years old
2. 50-59 years old
3. 30-39 years old
4. 10-19 years old
5. 60-19 years old