Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The oldest man in history

In case you missed it last week (as I did), the world now has a new oldest man in recorded history. The record for oldest person, however, is still a long ways off.
Jiroemon Kimura, a 115-year-old Japanese man born when Queen Victoria still reigned over the British Empire, became the oldest man in recorded history today, Guinness World Records said. 
Kimura, of Kyotango, western Japan, was born April 19, 1897, in the 30th year of the Meiji era, according to London-based Guinness. That makes him 115 years and 253 days as of today, breaking the longevity record for men held by Christian Mortensen of California, who died in 1998 at the age of 115 years and 252 days. The oldest woman in recorded history, Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, died in 1997 at the age of 122.
Of course, it wouldn't be my blog if I didn't also try to throw some sort of a lesson into this post, so here it is, from the same article:
Kimura is among 22 Japanese people on a list of the world’s 64 oldest people compiled by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, highlighting the challenges facing Japan as its population ages. A combination of the world’s highest life expectancy, the world’s second-largest public debt and a below- replacement birthrate is straining the nation’s pension system, prompting the government to curb payouts, raise contributions and delay the age of eligibility.
And yes, in case you were wondering, we in the United States should be paying attention to Japan's lessons, as I've enumerated here before.

But for today, I'll mostly leave those lessons alone, just to marvel at what it means to be 115 years old. This guy was born in 1897 (the same year as Amelia Earhart, William Faulkner, Elijah Muhammad, and Joseph Goebbels), two weeks after William McKinley was inaugurated as President of the United States. He's six months older than the oldest underground subway in North America (Boston), and ten years older than Katharine Hepburn and Orville Redenbacher.

He was 21 when World War I ended, 44 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and a spry 94 when Al Gore invented the internet. If you think things are different now than when you were growing up, try being Jiroemon for a couple of days—he remembers when the airplane was invented. I only remember when it was actually enjoyable to fly in one.


No comments:

Post a Comment