By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press
TOKYO (AP) — Masazo Nonaka has enjoyed soaking in northern Japan’s hot springs for many years — probably longer than most people.
The supercentenarian, whose family has run a hot springs inn for four generations, was certified Tuesday as the world’s oldest living man, at age 112 years, 259 days.
Nonaka received the certificate from Guinness World Records in a ceremony at his home in Ashoro, on Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido, and celebrated with a big cake decorated with berries.
Born on July 25, 1905, Nonaka grew up in a large family and succeeded his parents running the inn. The 105-year-old inn is now run by his granddaughter Yuko. He regularly soaks in the springs and also enjoys eating sweets, especially cakes.
Nonaka, wearing a knit cap and a kimono-style jacket, flashed a smile and posed for a group photo with his family, making a victory sign with his right hand.
He dug into the cake with a spoon after it was cut, and said, “Delicious,” according to NHK public television.
“Thank you,” he said.
His family members say Nonaka still moves about by himself in a wheelchair.
He reads a newspaper after breakfast every morning, and loves to watch sumo wrestling and samurai dramas on TV. But his favorite pastime is soaking in the hot springs and relaxing.
Nonaka has outlived all seven of his siblings, as well as his wife and two of their five children.
He is one of about 67,800 centenarians in Japan, the fastest-aging country in the world, with the highest average life expectancy — 80.98 for men and 87.14 for women, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Guinness says Nonaka replaced Francisco Olivera of Spain, who died earlier this year at age 113, as the world’s oldest man.
A 117-year-old Japanese woman, Nabi Tajima, who is currently the oldest living person in Japan, is expected to be certified as the world’s oldest person, replacing Violet Moss-Brown of Jamaica, who died in September at age 117.