Monday, December 10, 2007

Shigechiyo Izumi (b. June 29, 1865? – d. February 21, 1986)

Shigechiyo Izumi (b. June 29, 1865?; Amami Islands – d. February 21, 1986)

He was a Japanese supercentenarian and, according to Guinness World Records, became the person with the greatest authenticated age in the world after the death of Niwa Kawamoto, also from Japan. Assuming his claimed birth-date is correct, he would have attained an age of 120 years, older than any other recognized male, and be the second-longest lived human ever, second only to Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment. He also holds the record for the longest working career for a person, spanning 98 years. He was recorded as a six-year-old in Japan's first Census of 1871. His wife died at the age of 90. He drank shōchū (a Japanese alcoholic beverage distilled from barley), and took up smoking at age 70.[1] He began his career in 1872 goading draft animals at a sugar mill, and retired as a sugarcane farmer in 1970 at the age of 105. He attributed his long life to "God, Buddha and the Sun." He stood at 1.42 meters (four feet, eight inches) tall, weighed 42.6 kilograms (94 pounds) and lived through 71 Japanese Prime Ministers; his life spanned five Emperors of Japan from Komei Tenno to Showa Tenno and five nengo from Keio at the close of the Edo era to near the end of the Showa era.

He died of pneumonia after a brief hospitalization at 12:15 GMT, the same day as Jeanne Calment's 111th birthday. He was 120 years and 237 days old (if the 1865 birth year is correct), the last recognized surviving person of the 1860s, the only male to live at least 116 years and the longest holder of the "oldest living person" title.

Following his death, Mamie Eva Keith became the world's oldest person. For more than 20 years after his death every person with the title of the world's oldest living person was female until Emiliano Mercado del Toro became the world's oldest living person on December 11, 2006.

Izumi's stated birthdate is June 29, 1865, however as Japan did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until January 1, 1873 his age appears inflated by 12 days. One of his 120 years was in fact 12 days shorter: the year 1872. His date of birth June 29, 1865 would be July 11, 1865 in Gregorian countries. This assumes that his date of birth has not been otherwise adjusted as no mention of this anomaly is made in the source.

His age is disputed; it has been suggested that he was actually born fifteen years later and named after his older brother, who may have died young.

Source: Wikipedia

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