Jiroemon Kimura, who passed away at the remarkable age of 116 years 54 days, held a record that few of us ever have the chance of achieving: the world’s oldest living person. Perhaps more significantly, though, Kimura-san achieved an even rarer accolade when, on December 28, 2012, he became the oldest man who ever lived. As the oldest male whose age could be reliably determined, Kimura succeeded Denmark’s Thomas Peter Thorvald Kristian Ferdinand “Christian” Mortensen, who reached 115 years 252 days in April 1988, and became the first man to ever exceed 116 years.
Kimura was born in 1897, the same year as authors Enid Blyton and William Faulkner, aviator Amelia Earhart, and jazz musician Fletcher Henderson. In the same year, Queen Victoria celebrated her 60th anniversary on the British throne, and William McKinley became President of the United States. The retired postal worker is one of the few men known to have lived across three centuries, and would have seen immense social and technological advances including the advent of motor vehicles, television, powered flight, space travel and the internet, and seen the accession of six U.K. monarchs, five Emperors of Japan, and 20 U.S. Presidents.
Only seven people are known to have ever reached the age of 116 years. Of these, only four went on to celebrate their 117th birthday, all of them women. Among them was Jeanne Louise Calment of France, who reached the record age of 122 years 164 days – the oldest person whose age has been fully authenticated.
Source: EPA/Guinness Book of World Records
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