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Jiroemon Kimura
Kimura on his 115th birthday in 2012
Kimura on his 115th birthday in 2012
Native name 木村・次郎右衛門
きむら じろうえもん
Born Miyake Kinjiro (三宅 金治郎?)
(1897-04-19)19 April 1897
Kamiukawa, Kyoto, Japan
Died 12 June 2013
(aged 7002116000000000000116 years, 700154000000000000054 days)
Kyōtango, Kyoto, Japan
Occupation Postal worker, farmer and soldier[1]
Known for
  • Oldest man ever
  • Oldest living man (15 April 2011 – 12 June 2013)
  • Oldest living person (17 December 2012 – 12 June 2013)
Spouse(s) Yae Kimura (m. 1920–79)
Children 8
Military career
Allegiance Japan Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1918–1921

Jiroemon Kimura (木村 次郎右衛門 Kimura Jirōemon?, 19 April 1897 – 12 June 2013) was a Japanese supercentenarian who lived for 116 years and 54 days. He became the verified oldest man in history on 28 December 2012, when he surpassed the age of Christian Mortensen who had died in 1998.[2] He was the last verified living man born in the 19th century,[3][4][5] and was possibly the last veteran of World War I.[6]

Kimura became the oldest living man in Japan upon the death of Tomoji Tanabe on 19 June 2009,[7] the world's oldest living man upon the death of Walter Breuning on 15 April 2011,[lower-alpha 1][8][9] the oldest living person in Japan upon the death of Chiyono Hasegawa on 2 December 2011, and the world's oldest living person[10] upon the death of Dina Manfredini on 17 December 2012,[11] until his own death almost half a year later.

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[10] in the fishing village of Kamiukawa, Kyoto prefecture, to farmers Morizo (21 May 1858–February 27, 1935) and Fusa (7 July 1867–August 26, 1931) Miyake.[6][2] Kimura's age was further verified by researchers in an article that they published in 2017.[6] After thorough research, including conducting family interviews and searching official records, the authors verified Kimura's age and date of birth.[6] Kimura's nephew Tamotsu Miyake said his uncle's birthday was 19 March, but that this had been mistakenly recorded as 19 April in 1955 when records from neighbouring towns were consolidated and redone.[2] The researchers concluded, however, that Kimura was listed as being born on 19 March 1897 (as opposed to 19 April 1897, his likely true birth date), on his school records due to his parents' desire to have him begin school a year earlier than his later birthday would have allowed, so that he could graduate from school earlier and begin working on the family farm.[6] During this time, in Japan, schoolchildren born before April were one school year ahead of schoolchildren who were born in April or afterwards.[6] In his family, Kimura was the fifth child and second surviving son of eight children, six of whom lived to adulthood.[6] He had four elder siblings including two elder sisters, Sa.M. (1 November 1887–September 20, 1892) and I.M. (11 December 1889–c.1985/86) and two elder brothers, S.M. (21 March 1892–October 27, 1894) and H. M. (20 February 1895–July 2, 1986).[6] He had three younger siblings: his third sister G. M. (3 January 1900–April 18,1993), a fourth brother A. M. (10 September 1902–c. 1987/88) and his youngest brother Tetsuo (4 March 1909–June 2, 2007).[6] Four of Kimura's siblings lived past the age of 90.[2] On 1 April 1903, Kimura began his primary-school education. An intelligent student, he graduated with the equivalent of an eighth-grade education under the old imperial educational system on 31 March 1911, having had two additional years of schooling beyond what was then compulsory.[6]


On 10 April 1911, Kimura began work at the Nakahama post office as a telegraph boy while also working on his family's farm. He left the Nakahama post office on 2 February 1913.[6] From May to December 1914, he studied at a posts and telegraph training school in Kyoto, graduating at the head of his class of 70 students and resuming work at the Nakahama post office on 4 December 1914.[6]

Military service

On 1 April 1918, Kimura was conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army and was posted to Nakano, Tokyo, where he served with a communications unit. He was discharged from service on 30 June, was again conscripted on 1 September 1919 and was posted to Tokyo, but only served for three weeks, until 21 September.[6] On 23 May 1920, he left the Nakahama post office for the final time. To help support his younger brother A. M. who had emigrated to Korea under Japanese rule for work and had fallen ill there, Kimura moved to Keijō (now Seoul, South Korea), taking a job on 31 May with the Government-General of Chōsen in the Mail and Telecommunications Department, with a salary of 30 yen plus a 30% overseas service allowance. He only stayed in Korea until November, however, before returning to Japan and his work on the farm.[2][6] From 1 to 21 September 1921, Kimura underwent a final three-week period of army service, again in a communications unit, during which he was posted to Hiroshima. Around this time, he attended a ceremony in Kyoto to welcome the return to Japan of Crown Prince Hirohito from a tour of Europe.[6] After his national service, Kimura resumed farming until 21 April 1924, when he was appointed a deputy postmaster at the Hira post office. He worked there for the next 38 years until his retirement on 30 June 1962, two months after his 65th birthday and having worked in post offices for 45 years.[2] [6]

Later years

After retiring, Kimura helped his eldest son run the family farm until he reached the age of 90.[1] In 1978, Kimura and his wife moved in with their first son and his family. Kimura's wife died the following year, and he continued to live with his first son's family and subsequently with his eldest grandson's family for the remainder of his life. On 28 September 1999, aged 102, he appeared on a local television program featuring local residents noted for their longevity. On 17 June 2002, he published an autobiographical pamphlet, “Looking back at my happy 105 years.”[6]

Personal life

On 27 December 1920, Kimura (then still Kinjiro Miyake) married his neighbor Yae Kimura (19 January 1904 – 30 May 1979), the adopted daughter of Jiroemon Kimura VIII (d. 4 April 1927) and his wife K. Kimura (8 July 1870–March 9, 1939). The marriage was officially registered two days later.[6] 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 after his adoptive father's death in 1927.[2] Kimura and his wife, who were married for nearly 59 years, had eight children (six sons and two daughters) of whom all but their second son survived to adulthood, and five outlived him.[6] Kimura was health-conscious and active.[12] He woke up early in the morning and read newspapers with a magnifying glass.[12] Also, he enjoyed talking to guests and followed live parliamentary debates on television. He credited eating small portions of food (hara hachi bun me) as the key to a long and healthy life.[12][13] Kimura resided in Kyōtango, Kyoto Prefecture, with his eldest son's widow, 83, and his grandson's widow, 59.[9] On his 114th birthday on 19 April 2011, he mentioned his survival of the 7.6 magnitude 1927 Kita Tango earthquake that hit Kyoto and killed over 3,000 people.[14] Just four days before turning 114, upon Walter Breuning's death, Kimura became the oldest living man in the world; he and Breuning (who was 30 weeks older) were the only two pre-1900 born men who still were living in the 2nd decade of the 21st century (2011–2020).

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.[15] On his 116th and final birthday, Kimura received many well-wishes, including a video message from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.[4]


Kimura was hospitalized for pneumonia on 11 May 2013. On 23 May 2013, when 113-year-old James Sisnett of Barbados (born 22 February 1900) died, Kimura became the last verified living man born in the 19th century.[13] He died of natural causes in the hospital in his hometown of Kyōtango, western Japan, at 2:08 a.m. on 12 June 2013.[16][17] His funeral was held on 14 June 2013.[18] At the time of his death, Kimura was succeeded as the world's oldest living man by Salustiano Sanchez (born 8 June 1901). He was survived by five children (his two daughters and his third, fourth and fifth sons),[6] 14 grandchildren (13 surviving), 25 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great-grandchildren.[19][16]

See also


  1. Breuning died 14 April 2011, 3:30pm MDT. However, in Japan, where Kimura lived, the date was already 15 April 2011 (JST).


  1. 1.0 1.1 "World's oldest man celebrates 114th birthday". The Daily Telegraph. London. 19 April 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Matsuyama, Kanoko (27 December 2012). "Japanese 115-Year-Old Becomes Oldest Man in History". Bloomberg. 
  3. "World's oldest man ever turns 116 in Kyoto as his health is studied". The Japan Daily Press. 15 April 2013. 
    - "World's oldest person turns 116 in Japan". FRANCE 24 International News. 19 April 2013. [dead link]
    - "World's oldest person Jiroemon Kimura turns 116 in Japan". The Economic Times. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Zoominuk. "World's oldest man ever turns 116". YouTube. 
  5. "From horseless carriages to iPhone5s: The world during 116-year-old Jiroemon Kimura's lifetime". 9 June 2013. 
    - "Jiroemon Kimura, Oldest Man in Recorded History, Dies at 116". 12 June 2013. 
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 Gondo, Yasuyuki; Hirose, Nobuyoshi; Yasumoto, Saori; Arai, Yasumichi; Saito, Yasuhiko (1 December 2017). "Age verification of the longest lived man in the world". pp. 7–17. Digital object identifier:10.1016/j.exger.2017.08.030. PMID 28847724. 
  7. "Japan's oldest man says 'thank you very much'". Japan Times. 22 June 2009. 
  8. Volz, Matt (14 April 2011). "Walter Breuning, World's Oldest Man, Dies In Montana At 114". Huffington Post. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Breaking News Online Team (19 April 2011). "Jiroemon Kimura becomes World's Oldest Man at 114". Breaking News Online. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Oldest Validated Living Supercentenarians". Gerontology Research Group. 
  11. "115-year-old Iowa Woman Dies, Was World's Oldest Person". KCRG-TV9. 17 December 2012. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Yamaguchi, Mari (10 September 2009). "Japan's century club swells to more than 40,000". ABC News. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Kemsley, Tamarra (28 May 2013). "Last Man Alive to Have Been Born in 1800s Celebrates 116th Birthday". Nature World News. 
  14. "Der älteste Mann der Welt" (in de). Asienspiegel. 20 April 2011. 
  15. "Worlds oldest living man welcomes Guinness World Records editor to his home". Guinness World Records. 15 October 2012. 
    - "New record for world's oldest man Jiroemon Kimura". BBC News. 16 October 2012. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in ja). Sponichi Annex. Japan: Sports Nippon Newspapers. 12 June 2013. "... 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?)" 
  17. Damien Fletcher (12 June 2013). "World's oldest person dies... long live the oldest person in the world". Daily Mirror. 
  18. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in ja). 14 June 2013. 
  19. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in ja). MSN Sankei News. Japan: The Sankei Shimbun & Sankei Digital. 19 April 2013. 

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