Tokio Watanabe was a Japanese supercentenarian who died in 2010 at the age of 110. At the time of his death, he was the second-oldest living man in Japan, behind Jiroemon Kimura, and the last surviving Japanese man born in 1899.

Tokio Watanabe was born on December 12, 1899, in Kuma, Ehime Prefecture, Japan. He was the second of three children. Watanabe came from a family that ran an inn for farmers and pilgrims. At 22, he frequently traveled 20 km nightly to propose to his wife, whom he eventually married. They had two sons and six daughters. Tragically, he became a widower at 36, leaving Watanabe to raise their young children. The older siblings helped care for the youngest while Watanabe worked hard, transporting supplies by horse through a mountain pass nightly, often without time to rest or eat.

Due to his height (less than 152 cm), Watanabe was not drafted into World War II but contributed by training military horses. His eldest and second sons were drafted, with the latter dying in action in Okinawa in 1945. Post-war, Watanabe served on the assembly of Kawase Village (now Kumakōgen Town) from 1947 to 1951. He farmed wheat, sugar cane, and rice until he was 95.

On his 100th birthday, Watanabe’s six children, including his eldest son at 78, gathered to celebrate. By then, he had 16 grandchildren, around 40 great-grandchildren, and many great-great-grandchildren. Even at 100, he could still mow rice fields. Though his hearing had declined, he could read and write well and enjoyed watching the news. He lived without major illnesses and enjoyed drinking white wine.

At the age of 100. (Source: Ehime Shimbun)

At the age of 100.
(Source: Ehime Shimbun)

Following the death of Hisashi Ōmasa of Matsumae Town on 20 February 2008, at the age of 108, Watanabe became the oldest living man in Ehime Prefecture.

As of September 2009, he was the fourth-oldest living man in Japan, behind Jiroemon KimuraEisaku Yamazaki, and Kiyotoshi Inoue.

Watanabe passed away on 6 February 2010, at a hospital in Kumakōgen due to pneumonia, at the age of 110 years, 56 days.

LongeviQuest congratulates Tokio Watanabe’s family on her posthumous recognition.

For more information, please view Mr. Watanabe’s Directory Profile here.