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World’s oldest man, 112, shares the secret to longevity

Chitetsu Watanabe was born in Niigata in northern Japan in 1907.
Chitetsu Watanabe, 112, poses next to the calligraphy he wrote after being awarded as the world's oldest living male by Guinness World Records, in Joetsu, Niigata prefecture, northern Japan Wednesday. (Kyodo News via AP) [AP]
Chitetsu Watanabe, 112, poses next to the calligraphy he wrote after being awarded as the world's oldest living male by Guinness World Records, in Joetsu, Niigata prefecture, northern Japan Wednesday. (Kyodo News via AP) [AP]
Published Feb. 12

TOKYO — A Japanese man with a sweet tooth who believes in smiles has become the world’s oldest male at 112 years and 344 days old, according to Guinness World Records.

Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born in Niigata in northern Japan in 1907, received a certificate for his accomplishment on Wednesday at a nursing home in the city.

The previous record holder, Masazo Nonaka, another Japanese, died last month. The oldest living person is also Japanese, Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old woman.

Until about a decade ago, Watanabe used to do bonsai, the Japanese traditional art of raising small sculpted trees, and had his work exhibited.

These days, he loves desserts such as custards and cream puffs, Guinness said.

Watanabe graduated from agricultural school and then moved to Taiwan to work at Dai-Nippon Meiji Sugar on sugar cane plantation contracts.

He lived in Taiwan for 18 years. He married Mitsue and they had five children, Guinness said in a statement.

After the end of World War II, Watanabe returned to Niigata and worked for the prefectural government until retirement. He also grew fruit and vegetables on the family farm.

Asked about the secret to longevity, Watanabe has this advice: Don’t get angry and keep smiling.

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