Japan’s oldest man says ‘thank you very much’ in English

KYOTO (Kyodo) Jiroemon Kimura, who at 112 is the oldest man in Japan, says he’s glad to have the title.

Kimura took over the national title when Tomoji Tanabe of Miyazaki Prefecture, who was the oldest man in the world, died Friday at age 113.

Worldwide, Henry Allingham of Britain is now the oldest man, Guinness World Records said. Allingham’s birthday is June 6, 1896. Kimura was born April 19, 1897.

Appearing before the media at his home in Kyotango, Kyoto Prefecture, over the weekend, Kimura said, “Thank you very much” in English.

While expressing gratitude to his family and other people close to him for their support, Kimura said crisply he believes the key to his longevity is to eat healthy and in small portions.

“Not eating much without likes and dislikes,” he remarked.

Watching sumo and Diet sessions on TV are among his hobbies, he said, though he’s not happy with recent developments in either field.

“I would like to see more Japanese sumo wrestlers advance,” Kimura said. Japan’s new longevity yokozuna was also quick to criticize lawmakers. “They should do what makes things better for Japanese people,” he said.

Kimura has seven children, 15 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren, according to his family.