NIIGATA – A 112-year-old Japanese who has been recognized as the world’s oldest living man cited “laughter” Wednesday as the secret to his longevity.
Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907, pumped his fist as he was handed a certificate by a Guinness World Records official at the nursing home in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture, where he resides. He is in good health, according to the facility.
“I look up to my father, no matter his age,” said Watanabe’s daughter Teruko Takahashi, 78.
Watanabe was recognized as the oldest living man after the previous holder of the title, Masazo Nonaka, who lived in Hokkaido, died Jan. 20, 2019, at age 113.
Born to a family of farmers in Joetsu, Watanabe moved to Taiwan at the age of 20 and spent 18 years there. He returned to Japan after World War II and worked as a civil servant in his hometown until his retirement.
He has five children, 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, according to his family.
Japanese are known to live long lives. Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old resident of Fukuoka Prefecture, is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person following the death in July 2018 of another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako from Kanagawa Prefecture, at 117.