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|
Jiroemon Kimura (木村 次郎右衛門, Kimura Jirōemon, 19 April 1897 – 12 June 2013) was a Japanese supercentenarian. He became the oldest verified male in history on 28 December 2012, at the age of 115 years and 253 days when he surpassed the age of Christian Mortensen who died in 1998, and also became the first and so far the only man who indisputably reached 116 years of age, being 116 years, 54 days old at the time of his death 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, as well as the last living person born in 1897.
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 (who was only 15 days older) on 17 December 2012, until his own death. After Breuning's death, Kimura was also the last living man born before 1900. Breuning and Kimura were also the only two verified men born before 1900 who were living in the 2nd decade of the 21st century (2011–2020).
Early life and education
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 career
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. According to him, small portions of food (hara hachi bun me) were 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.
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.
Jiroemon Kimura's age was further verified by researchers in an article that they published in 2017. Based on the documents that were mentioned and discussed in this article, the authors of this article concluded that Jiroemon Kimura was indeed 116 years and 54 days at the time of his death on June 12, 2013. They further concluded that Kimura was listed as being born on March 19, 1897 (as opposed to April 19, 1897, which this article's authors concluded was likely Kimura's true birth date) on his school records due to his parents' desire to have him begin school a year earlier than he otherwise would have so that he could graduate from school earlier and thus begin working on the family farm earlier. (During this time, in Japan, schoolchildren born before April were one school year ahead of schoolchildren who were born in April or afterwards.)
- Jeanne Calment (1875–1997), the oldest woman (and the oldest person) whose age was verified
- Oldest people
- List of the oldest people by country
- List of the verified oldest people
- List of Japanese supercentenarians
- Elderly people in Japan
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... 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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