World's Oldest Man Claims Smiling Is His Secret to Longevity

Chitetsu Watanabe was confirmed as the oldest living male by Guinness World Records this week.

Worlds Oldest Man
Photo: Japan Pool/Getty Images

Guinness World Records confirmed Chitetsu Watanabe of Niigata, Japan as the world's oldest man this week. The supercentenarian is currently 112 years and 344 days old. The organization celebrated Watanabe's record by sending an official certificate to the nursing home where he resides. What's his secret to longevity, you ask? Smiling.

Guinness World Records reports that Watanabe's secret to a long, happy life is "to not get angry and keep a smile on your face." Watanabe's wife, Yoko, confirmed his claim, saying, "I've lived together with him for over 50 years, and I've never seen him raise his voice or get mad. He's also caring. When I was working on my patchwork hobby, he was the one who praised my work the most. I think having lived with a big family under one roof, mingling with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren helped keep a smile on his face as well."

Watanabe was born in 1907 and always had a green thumb. He studied agriculture and eventually got a job working with a sugar company. Watanabe says his many years working at a sugar company means he has a major sweet tooth. Even though he's lost his teeth in old age, he still enjoys custards and sweet cream.

Up until last year, Watanabe spent his days practicing origami and calligraphy, honing his math skills and engaging in exercise as part of a rehabilitation program. Prior to moving into a nursing home, Watanabe loved working in his garden, tending to his potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes and plums—but his true love was working on his bonsai trees. Watanabe kept up his favorite activity until he was 104 years old and even entered his bonsai trees at local exhibitions.

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