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Last Man Alive to Have Been Born in 1800s Celebrates 116th Birthday [VIDEO]

May 28, 2013 07:10 PM EDT
Jiroemon Kimura
Jiroemon Kimura, the oldest person in the world, died early Wednesday morning in a hospital in Japan. He was 116.
(Photo : Reuters)

The last man to be born in the 1800s is a title now held by Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura, following the recent death of James Emmanuel “Doc” Sisnett.

At 116, Kimura is also the oldest person alive – a title he’s held since the death of Dina Manfredini of Iowa last December, who passed away at the age of 115.

Born in 1897, Kimura has seen two world wars, four Japanese emperors and 61 Japanese prime ministers.

“I truly congratulate you on your 116th birthday,” Japan’s Prime Minister Shenzo Abe said in a video message, according to DNA India. “I’m 58 years old, still a young man at only half your age. Thanks to you generation’s efforts, Japan could overcome several difficult times and achieve the prosperity we enjoy today. Your healthy existence becomes our confidence and pride.”

The news outlet further reports that Kimura is currently living with his 60-year-old granddaughter-in-law and lives off of a diet of rice, pumpkins and sweet potatoes, according to local media.

Furthermore, New York Daily News reports that the man practices the “hara hachi bu,” which means eating until one is 80 percent full, way of life.

According to the BBC, Kimura worked as a postman until he was 65, at which point he took up farming until the age of 90.

He has five kids, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great grandchildren.

Japan also home to Misao Okawa, the oldest woman in the world.

Both Okawa and Kimura fall into the category of supercentenarians, or those who have reach 110. And while there is no way of known for sure how many there are living throughout the world, the Gerontology Research Group reports that there are 57 currently recorded as living.

However, China’s not letting this one go so easily: a woman by the name of Lou Meizhen claims to be 127 years old, according to Shanghaiist.

However, birth certificates in her native region were only recorded after Communist takeover of 1949, according to Yahoo! News.

The oldest person ever on record was French woman Jeanne Calment, who died at 122 in 1997.

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