Tomoji Tanabe

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Tomoji Tanabe
Native name 田鍋 友時
Born 18 September 1895
Miyakonojo, Miyazaki, Japan
Died 19 June 2009
(aged 113 years, 274 days)
Miyakonojo, Miyazaki, Japan
Cause of death Heart failure
Occupation Former civil engineer, surveyor
Title World's oldest man
(24 January 2007 –
19 June 2009)

Tomoji Tanabe (田鍋 友時, Tanabe Tomoji, 18 September 1895 – 19 June 2009) was a Japanese supercentenarian and, at the time of his death at age 113, the oldest living man in the world for 2 years, 146 days. Tanabe became the oldest man in Japan following the death of Nijiro Tokuda, who was 111 at the time, on 12 June 2006.[1] Upon the death of 115-year-old Emiliano Mercado del Toro on 24 January 2007, Tanabe assumed the title of the man with the oldest validated date of birth in the world. Tanabe was the seventh-oldest validated person in the world and the third-oldest in Japan (behind Kama Chinen and Chiyo Shiraishi). Tanabe was also the oldest living man in Japan before Jiroemon Kimura.[2]


Born in Miyakonojo, Miyazaki, Tanabe worked as a civil engineer at the city office.[3] He credited total abstinence from alcohol and smoking as the secret to his longevity.[4][5] On his 112th birthday, he stated: "I want to live forever. I don't want to die", and received 100,000 yen and flowers from the local mayor. Tanabe was "extremely healthy" and ate vegetables and drank milk daily.[6][7]

A former city land surveyor,[8] Tanabe, on his 113th birthday said "I am happy. I eat a lot. I don't want to die yet." In 2008, he said he wanted to "live indefinitely."[9][10] Tanabe received a giant tea cup engraved with his name and date of birth plus birthday gifts, flowers and 100,000 yen cash from Miyakonojo Mayor Makoto Nagamine. A Miyakonojo official said: "His favorite food is fried shrimp, but we've heard that he's cut back on oily food. He said he wants to live for another 10 years, that he doesn't want to die."[11]

However, after his last birthday, Tanabe's health deteriorated quickly. He had mostly been bed-ridden since early May 2009 and could not eat, due to a chronic heart condition. On 19 June 2009, Tanabe died in his sleep of heart failure at his home in southern Japan. He was 113 years, 274 days old.[12] Upon Tanabe's death, British World War I veteran Henry Allingham, age 113, became the world's oldest living man, but died a month later.

He was survived by eight children, 25 grandchildren, and 54 great-grandchildren.[13]

See also[edit]