National News

111-year-old from Japan recognized as oldest man

Sakari Momoi, a 111-year-old Japanese retired educator, poses for a photo after receiving a certificate from a Guinness World Records official, left, in Tokyo Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Momoi was recognized as the world’s oldest living man on Wednesday, succeeding Alexander Imich of New York, who died in April at the age of 111 years, 164 days. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY -
Sakari Momoi, a 111-year-old Japanese retired educator, poses for a photo after receiving a certificate from a Guinness World Records official, left, in Tokyo Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Momoi was recognized as the world’s oldest living man on Wednesday, succeeding Alexander Imich of New York, who died in April at the age of 111 years, 164 days. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY
— image credit:

By Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press

TOKYO - A 111-year-old retired Japanese educator who enjoys poetry has been recognized 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 June 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.

Momoi was born Feb. 5, 1903, in Fukushima prefecture, where he became a teacher. He moved to the city of Saitama, north of Tokyo, after World War II and was a high school principal there until retirement.

At the televised ceremony, Momoi wore a dark suit and silver tie, with his white hair neatly combed. He stood up from his wheelchair and moved to a chair next to it with little assistance.

Asked how he felt about the record, Momoi pushed his back upright and said he wants to live longer.

"Say, another two years," he said.

Momoi said he enjoys reading books, especially Chinese poetry, and sometimes practices calligraphy.

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

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

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

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Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

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