Japan has the highest life-expectancy rate in the world. The U.S., by way of comparison, comes in at #40. There are more than 51,000 Japanese people who are 100 years old or older. The traditional Japanese diet, which includes lots of rice, fish, and vegetables, has been given most of the credit, but other factors play a role as well, like strong family and community ties, a strong pension system and a national health care system that works really well.
Two Japanese residents can now lay claim to the titles of “Oldest Living Man” and “Oldest Living Woman.” Jiroemon Kimura will turn 116 next month (hopefully). He was born on April 19, 1897. He is not only the oldest living man, he is also the oldest man to ever live! (That doesn’t include Adam, of course, who lived to be 900 years old. But you have to remember that the health care system in those days was much more advanced). Misao Okawa just celebrated her 115th birthday on March 5. Together, this distinguished pair are part of an elite dozen people in the world who were born in the 1890’s.
Of course, everybody wants to know the secret to their longevity. Kimura attributes it to “watching his food portion sizes, waking early in the day, and reading the newspapers.” Okawa claims that she “eats what she wants to eat” and has never had a major illness.
Between the two of them, they have 8 children, 18 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great grandchildren!