Oldest man on Earth dies aged 113

Winner: Guinness World Records recognised Masazo Nonaka as the world‘s oldest man last year.

Would you want to live until you were 113? As people mourn the death of the world’s oldest man, scientists are trying to unlock the secrets of long-life. Some say our diet holds the key.

What’s happening

When Masazo Nonaka was born in Japan in 1905, Queen Victoria had only recently died. His life included two world wars, the fall of his country’s empire and the invention of the internet.

For the last year of his life, he was the world’s oldest man. He died peacefully at his home on Sunday.

Find out more

Nonaka attributed his long life to soaking in hot springs and eating sweets. However, his daughter also pointed to his stress-free life. He spent his retirement watching sumo wrestling and reading newspapers.

Japan has the world’s highest life expectancy. There is one place where people live longer than anywhere else: Okinawa Island.

For every 100,000 inhabitants, 68 are over 100 years old ― more than three times the rate in America. Scientists think this is thanks to their diet. People on the island eat a lot of carbohydrates, often sweet potatoes. They also exercise a lot.

Would you want to live to 113?

Some say…

Of course — why would you not? You would have more time to spend with your friends and family or to enjoy all of the wonderful things life has to offer. That is why it is so important to look after yourself now.

Others think…

It is not about the length of your life, but what you do with it. Living long past 100 would not be fun if you had a lot of health problems, or had lost your closest friends. Rather than worrying about the future, let’s celebrate being alive today.

You Decide

  1. Would you want to live forever?


  1. The world’s new oldest man is 113-year-old Gustav Gerneth, born in Germany in October 1905. Write down three questions that you would ask him if you had the chance.

Some People Say...

“Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young.”

Former US President Theodore Roosevelt

What do you think?

Word Watch

A group of countries ruled by a single monarch. The Japanese Empire lasted between 1868 and 1947.
Said something was caused by.
Hot springs
Warm water which rises from the Earth’s crust. In Japan these are called “onsen” and are believed to have health benefits.
The years after someone has stopped working.
People who live somewhere.
One of the main food groups and the body’s main source of energy.


PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.