This just in: Japan is full of super old people

An old Japanese guy: His secret? Hamburgers. Lots of hamburgers.
An old Japanese guy: His secret? Hamburgers. Lots of hamburgers.Courtesy isado
You heard it here first, folks, unless you heard it somewhere else already: There are a ton of really old people in Japan. And when I say really old, I mean older than 100 years old. And when I say a ton of people, I mean more than 40,000 people. Considering that the average weight for a Japanese centenarian (people over 100) is about 110-118 pounds, “a ton” is really way too small an amount. There are actually about 2,280 tons of really old people in Japan.

Although the US still blows Japan out of the water with the number of 100+ people in the country (We’re creeping up on 100,000. USA! USA!), your chances of living to be a super old dude or lady are much higher if you’ve lived your life in Japan. And people on the Japanese island of Okinawa are five times more likely to live to be 100 than even the rest of the Japanese population.

Plenty of research has been done on centenarians to isolate what factors might have allowed them to live for so long, and… the results aren’t super surprising. Certain genes are associated with long life, but so are certain diets and certain lifestyles. Basically, if you want to live to be one hundred, you should walk a lot, think a lot, poop a lot, don’t eat a lot, and hope your parents live to be one hundred. Or you could just start counting your age in dog years.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

mdr's picture
mdr says:

Move everyone up a notch. The oldest person in the world, 115 year-old Gertrude Baines, just died in Los Angeles. That means 114 year-old Kama Chinen of Japan is the new reigning queen of old. Here's the scoop.

posted on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:25pm
SyDnEy_RaE's picture
SyDnEy_RaE says:

whats wrong with there being a lot of old people?

posted on Wed, 09/16/2009 - 5:40pm
samanthapha's picture

Just because japan have a lot of old people, it doesn't mean that there is really a lot of them. There isn't really anything wrong with old people actually.

posted on Wed, 09/16/2009 - 5:52pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Sydney Rae and Samantapha—

Hey, y'all, where did I say that there was anything wrong with old people? I'm just interested in what factors have contributed to such a high percentage of the population living so long.

What do you guys think? Know anyone in their 90s? Or over 100? What do you think they did differently that helped them live that long?

posted on Wed, 09/16/2009 - 8:21pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Hmm. It could be that while Japan is indeed full of very old people, many of them are, in fact, dead.

Last month some welfare officials had police check on Tokyo's oldest man (he was 111 years old!) only to find out that he had been dead for 30 years. Apparently, in the early 80s he holed up in his room and declared that he wanted to be the living Buddha. The "living" part didn't work out so well, I guess, because when the investigators found him he was "lying in his bed, wearing underwear and pajamas, covered with a blanket," and totally mummified. His family just forgot to mention the whole thing to the welfare office.

The incident has prompted an examination of the country's population of very old people. It turns out that at least 200 of Japan's centenarians (people over 100 years old) are kinda-sorta missing. Whoops.

posted on Wed, 08/11/2010 - 10:16am

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