Shigechiyo Izumi

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Shigechiyo Izumi
泉 重千代
Shigechiyo Izumi.jpg
Shigechiyo Izumi with a group of children
Died21 February 1986 (age 105?)
Known forClaimed longevity

Shigechiyo Izumi (泉 重千代, Izumi Shigechiyo, ? – 21 February 1986) was a Japanese man who was titled the oldest living person after the death of Niwa Kawamoto on 16 November 1976, also from Japan. Izumi's claimed 1865 birth date was accepted by Guinness World Records, which recognized him as the oldest verified man ever, but this was eventually withdrawn; in the 2012 edition, Christian Mortensen was named the "oldest verified man ever" and Izumi was not mentioned.[1]


Guinness World Records found a document attesting that he was 24 years old in 1889 when he was exempted from military service to deal with sugar cane fields.[citation needed]

Izumi drank brown sugar shōchū (a Japanese alcoholic beverage often distilled from barley or rice), and took up smoking at age 70.[2][failed verification] Izumi's personal physician strongly advised him against drinking shōchū as his kidneys were not strong enough to process shōchū in his advanced age, but Izumi went on to say: "Without shōchū there would be no pleasure in life. I would rather die than give up drinking."[3] He retired from sugar cane farming in 1970.[2]

Death and uncertainty over age[edit]

After a brief hospitalization, Izumi died of pneumonia[4] at 21:15 JST on 21 February 1986. At the time, he was considered the only person ever verified to have reached the age of 120, although subsequent research has cast doubt on his actual age. In April 1987, 14 months after Izumi's death, the Department of Epidemiology at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology reported that research into Izumi's family registration records indicated he might have been 105 when he died.[5][6] The 2011 Guinness World Records book states that the birth certificate submitted as evidence might have actually belonged to a deceased brother, and the family may have re-used "Shigechiyo" as a necronym.[7]

With the closing of the "Guinness World Record Museum" in Niagara Falls, ON in September 2020, the display and reproduction of Izumi now resides in a private collection in Canada.

The oldest undisputed case of male longevity is Jiroemon Kimura, also from Japan, who died at age 116 years and 54 days.[8] Jeanne Calment holds the record for verified female longevity at 122 years and 164 days.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guinness World Records. Bantam Books. 27 March 2012. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-345-53437-8. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b The Guinness Book of Records (1993 ed.). Bantam Books. October 1992. p. 355. ISBN 0-553-56257-6. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Secrets of the oldest man in the world". The Moscow News. Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
  4. ^ The Guinness Book of Records (1999 ed.). Guinness Records. September 1998. p. 102. ISBN 0-965-23839-3. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  6. ^ "The Shigechiyo Izumi Case". 6 April 1987. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Men Supercentenarian Photos File No. 1 of 3 for the years 2001-2008". Genealogy Research Group. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  8. ^ Matsuyama, Kanoko (June 12, 2013). "Oldest man in history dies at age 116". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 June 2013.