Japanese poetry lover is world’s oldest man

Sakari Momoi receives his Guinness World Records certificate
Sakari Momoi receives his Guinness World Records certificate

A 111-year-old retired educator from Japan who enjoys poetry has been recognised as the world’s oldest living man.

Sakari Momoi received a certificate from Guinness World Records on Wednesday. He succeeds Alexander Imich, of New York, who died in April at the age of 111 years, 164 days.

The world’s oldest living person is also Japanese: Misao Okawa, a 116-year-old woman from Osaka.

Mr Momoi was born on February 5, 1903, in Fukushima prefecture, where he became a teacher.

He later moved to the city of Saitama, north of Tokyo, and served as a high school principal there until retirement.

Mr Momoi says he enjoys reading books, especially Chinese poetry.

He has five children and now lives at a nursing home in Tokyo.

Asked how he felt about the record, Mr Momoi said he wants to live longer.

“Say, another two years,” he said.

Mr Momoi said there is no special trick for his longevity, but his caregivers said he keeps early hours and eats healthily, according to NHK public television.

Mr Momoi is one of 54,000 centenarians in Japan. The country is the fastest ageing in the world and has the highest average life expectancy – 80.21 for men and 86.61 for women.