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Shitsui Hakoishi

Yumi Yamamoto
Validated By: Yumi Yamamoto On Date: Jun. 08th 2023

Shitsui Hakoishi (Japanese: 箱石シツイ; née Saitō (齋藤)) is a Japanese centenarian who is believed to be the world's oldest living barber.

Biography

Hakoishi was born in Ouchi Village (now part of the town of Nakagawa), Nasu County, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, on 10 November 1916. She was born in a farming family as the fourth of five children.

At the age of 14, she moved to Tokyo to pursue her barber training, and she passed the barber exam in 1936. On 14 January 1939, at the age of 22, she married Jirō Hakoishi and the couple opened a barber shop in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Her daughter, Mitsuko, was born in 1940, while her son, Hidemasa, was born in 1943. Her husband was drafted shortly after his son was born and later died on the battlefield. When she heard the news of her husband’s death, she almost lost hope for life, but with the support of her son and relatives, she regained her positivity. In 1944, she evacuated to Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, and opened her own barber shop.

Around the age of 70, she started taking walks and doing gymnastics as part of her daily routine. During the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she was recommended by her town and applied to be a torch runner, saying, “I hope it will be an encouragement to the elderly.” She held the torch and completed the 200m on 28 March 2021. Her way of staying healthy is to do her unique exercises that combine her shiatsu and stretching exercises for an hour every day. She walks about 500 steps a day and trains her legs. She says that the secret to her longevity is that she “doesn’t overeat”, and how it’s important to keep moving.

To this day, 70 years after opening her shop, she is still an active barber in her hometown of Nakagawa in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan.

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Recognition

On 6 June 2023, she was visited by Mrs. Yumi Yamamoto, Commissioner and President of LQ Japan.