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Japanese Hana Satō (1914-Present) Validated as Supercentenarian
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American Florilla Ames (1911-2011) Validated as Supercentenarian
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Japanese Asakichi Okada (1906-2016) Validated as Supercentenarian
Japanese Asahiko Iwasaki (1908-2018) Validated as Supercentenarian
Japanese Asahiko Iwasaki (1908-2018) Validated as Supercentenarian
American Elsie Martin (1910-2022) Validated as Supercentenarian
American Elsie Martin (1910-2022) Validated as Supercentenarian
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BIOGRAPHY

Yoshikazu Yamashita was born in Takehara City, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan on 10 April 1907, the second son of eight siblings. In 1914, during his first year of elementary school, he moved to Japanese-occupied Taiwan with his family. He would later remark that his time in Taiwan laid the foundation for the rest of his life. While there, he assisted his father with farming, and in 1941, with the outbreak of the Pacific War during World War II, was drafted to serve in the army. He did not speak much about this period of his life.

With Japan’s defeat in 1945, Yamashita’s assets in Taiwan were confiscated, leading him to return home to Japan in 1947. Back in Hiroshima, his home prefecture, he worked at the former Hiroshima Postal Savings Bureau (now the Hiroshima Postal Savings Operation Center) until retirement.

Yamashita learned to write Haiku poems by attending lessons at a community center between the ages of 50-70. He would continue writing poetry until old age, even after moving into a nursing facility. When he was 83, by way of “Giving back to the community”, he began working as a volunteer delivering food on his bicycle to elderly people who lived on their own. He was responsible for delivering to seven or eight houses, and always made a point to stop and chat with the residents as he knew they may be struggling with loneliness. He described himself as “delivering happiness.” He continued his food deliveries until he was 93. Around this time, honoring a request from a friend ten years prior, he also began delivering lectures giving advice on how to live a fulfilling life to local residents.

Yamashita moved into an assisted living facility for the elderly in Nishi Ward, Hiroshima City around the age of 102, circa 2009. His wife passed away some time around 2012.
On 28 November 2016, he released his first book, “109歳。私の幸福論” (Rough English translation: An 109 Year Old’s Theory of Happiness), in which he introduces his thirty-two secrets to living a happy life. In one passage, he writes “Keeping things tidy and in order not only saves time, but also ensures an organized mind.” Practicing what he preached, he would always file his documents by titling the spines of the files and arranging them neatly on his bookshelf.

On 30 June 2018, Yamashita released his second book,“111歳。やっぱり、めでたい!” (Rough English translation: Happy to be 111!) in which he introduces his cherished beliefs and practical tips on how to live a fulfilling life. In one passage, he writes “Take care of yourself, by yourself, as much as you can.” True to his word, he still dressed himself and folded away his clothes without assistance from nursing facility staff at the age of 111.

Yamashita stayed in shape by playing soft tennis, a sport he took up around the time he was 20 and continued to play on Sundays until the age of 85. Whether in Taiwan during his youth, or at home in Japan with his old co-workers from the Postal Savings Bureau, he was no stranger to the tennis court. He attributes his time spent darting around the court to his body being in such good working order that he was still able to ride a bicycle at the age of 100. Even during his wheelchair-dependent later years at the nursing facility, he routinely exercised to TV gymnastics broadcasts twice a day, and in the spirit of remaining active, made a point of never lying down in the daytime.

RECOGNITION

His age was validated by the Gerontology Research Group on 4 January 2020.

ATTRIBUTION

* “109歳 青春まっただ中 広島県最高齢男性 山下さんの心掛け” Chugoku Shimbun morning edition, January 1, 2017
* “長寿時代生きるヒント 広島の男性最高齢111歳 山下さんが本刊行” Chugoku Shimbun morning edition, August 10, 2018
* “111歳きょうも元気に 広島県内最高齢の山下義一さんの日常” Chugoku Shimbun morning edition, October 26, 2018
* “112歳人生訓 令和も語る 広島の男性 毎月講和 「戦争ない新時代に」” Yomiuri Shinbun Osaka Evening Edition, May 11, 2019
* “県内最高齢112歳 山下さん死去” Chugoku Shimbun July 9, 2019

GALLERY

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