Hokkaido resident Masazo Nonaka credits sweets and hot springs for his longevity.

Japan is well known around the world for the longevity of its residents, who boast an average life expectancy of 86.8 years for females and 80.5 years for men. It has the largest number of known centenarians of any nation, totaling 67,824 according to the 2017 census.

Now, one of those centenarians has been awarded with the Guinness World Record title for the world’s oldest man, and he recently celebrated his 113th birthday on 25 July.

Masazo Nonaka was awarded the title in April after its previous recipient, Spain’s 113-year-old Francisco Nuñez Olivera, passed away in January this year.

Presented with the Guinness World Record certificate in his hometown of Ashoro, located on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, Nonaka credits his longevity to eating sweets and soaking in hot springs, two of his most beloved pastimes.

Nonaka, the eldest of six brothers and one sister, was born in 1905 to the proprietors of Nonaka Onsen, a hot spring lodge located at the foot of Mount Meakan, an active volcano in Hokkaido’s Akan National Park. Bathing in the hot springs from a young age, Nonaka married in 1931, fathering five children and going on to become the second-generation owner of Nonaka Onsen, where he continues to enjoy the hot springs today, years after his retirement.

▼ Mount Meakan has an elevation of 1,499 metres (4,918 feet) and last erupted in 2006.

▼ Nonaka enjoying a soak at the onsen at age 112.

According to his 78-year-old daughter-in-law, who cares for him at home with her daughter, the real secret to Nonaka’s long life is his stress-free lifestyle. She says he wakes between 6-7 a.m. each morning and reads the newspaper in his room, enjoying three meals every day and regularly indulging in his hobby of watching sumo and professional baseball on television.

Given his love for life and its simple pleasures, Nonaka is well on track to follow in the footsteps of the oldest living male ever recorded, Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura, who died in 2013 at the age of 116.

If indulging in hobbies and favourite things really is the true key to a long life, that means we can all enjoy pleasures like fork-bending and walking vegetables guilt-free!

Source: Guinness World Records
Featured image: Instagram/guinnessworldrecords

[ Read in Japanese ]