- Hirata was born in Hiroshima on 1 September, 1919 and has four great-grandchildren
- He served in the navy during the Second World War and worked as a security guard in a Takamatsu hospital after the war until he got retired in 1980s
100-year-old Japanese woman, Mieko Nagaoka, became the world’s first centenarian to complete a 1,500-metre freestyle swim, 20 years after she took up the sport
JAPAN: A 96-year-old man in western Japan has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for breaking all the records and becoming the oldest college graduate according to the World Record Academy. Shigemi Hirata, a resident of Takamatsu, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Design from Kyoto University at the age of 96 years and 200 days. It took him 11 years to earn the degree of his ceramic arts course.
“My longevity is something like destiny. I am blessed with people (I have met).”
Hirata was born in Hiroshima on 1 September, 1919 and has four great-grandchildren. He served in the navy during the Second World War and worked as a security guard in a Takamatsu hospital after the war until he got retired in 1980s. In 2005, when he was 85, Hirata enrolled in the university’s correspondence study program to enhance his skills in pottery, which he took up when he became a pensioner. He occasionally attended classes at the university’s campus in Kyoto though most of his studies were done at home. He is something of a celebrity on campus.
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Hirata, after becoming the oldest man to earn a graduate degree is not done with setting the records. “My next goal is to live until 100,” he said, before cracking a joke. “If I’m still in good shape at the time, I will consider going to graduate school,” said Hirata.
Japan’s lively pensioners regularly set eye-popping records as the silver-haired generation enjoy longer and healthier lives.
100-year-old Japanese woman, Mieko Nagaoka, became the world’s first centenarian to complete a 1,500-metre freestyle swim, 20 years after she took up the sport.
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Hidekichi Miyazaki, dubbed “Golden Bolt” after Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, set a record by finishing a 100-meter sprint in just 42.22 seconds at the Kyoto Masters Athletics Autumn Competition at the age of 105.
There were nearly 59,000 centenarians in Japan in 2015, according to government figures — which means 46 out of every 100,000 people is 100 or over.
According to NHK World report of 2015, the number of Japanese aged 65 or older has risen to a new record of about 33.8 million people, or 26.7 per cent of the population.
– by Pashchiema, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema