Watanabe being recognised as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records, 12 February 2020
|Birth:||5 March 1907|
Joetsu, Niigata, Japan
|Death:||23 February 2020|
Joetsu, Niigata, Japan
|Age:||112 years, 355 days|
Watanabe was born in the Urakawahara suburb of Joetsu, Niigata, Japan on 5 March 1907. He was the first of eight children born to Haruzo and Miya Watanabe, who were farmers. After graduating from an agricultural high school, Watanabe worked for Dai-Nippon Meiji Sugar and moved to Taiwan to help conclude sugar cane plantation contracts there.
During his 18 years in Taiwan, Watanabe married his wife, Mitsue, and four out of their five children were born there. He also served in the military towards the end of the Pacific War in 1944. He returned to Niigata after the war and worked for a departure agency.
In 1974, Watanabe and his son Tetsuo built a new family home, which had about a hectare worth of farm next to it. He also worked on his bonsai until he was set to live in a nursing home. He also presented his work at local exhibitions until 2007.
After retiring, Watanabe lived with one of his son's family until the age of 108, when he moved to a care facility in Joetsu, Niigata, Japan. As of 2019, he had 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. In January 2019, in an interview for a local newspapers, he said that the secret to his longevity was to "not to get angry and keep a smile on your face".
Watanabe became the oldest living person in Niigata Prefecture following the death of Tora Kosugi on 11 December 2018. He became the oldest living man in Japan following the death of 113-year-old Masazo Nonaka on 20 January 2019.
Following Nonaka's death, Watanabe became the oldest living man whose age has been validated by the Gerontology Research Group. However, at the time there were other claimants to the world's oldest man title, such as Gustav Gerneth and Domingo Villa Avisencio (both of whom are now deceased), whose ages have not been validated.
On 12 February 2020, Watanabe was officially recognised as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records. He died eleven days later on 23 February 2020, aged 112 years, 355 days.
- 105歳の誕生日、祝福に笑顔 上越市下門前の渡邉智哲さん J-Times, 5 March 2012
- 上越市内男性最高齢者 渡邉智哲さん 107歳のバースデー The Joetsu Yomiuri Shimbun, March 2014
- 上越市の渡邉智哲さん111歳が国内最高齢男性に 「120歳まで頑張る」 Joetsu Town Journal, 22 January 2019
- 「サンキューベイビー！」国内最高齢男性の上越市の渡邉さん112歳 誕生日に村山市長がお祝い Joetsu Town Journal, 5 March 2019
- Japan's Chitetsu Watanabe confirmed as the world’s oldest man living at 112 years old Guinness World Records, 12 February 2020
- 男性世界最高齢の渡邉智哲さん死去 今月12日にギネス記録認定 112歳 Joetsu Town Journal, 24 February 2020
|Japan's Oldest Living Man Titleholders (V • E)|
Ikumatsu Matsuura • Masakichi Kai • Goro Usuyama • Shizuo Jinjiang • Kokuzo Iwate • Eisaku Takada • Hisaharu Arai • Chojiro Goto • Yozotaro Yoshikawa • Masutaro Sato • Takataro Hiragushi • Mataichi Ono • Shotaro Tanaka • Rinzo Shimizu • Koji Onishi • Inasaku Abe • Mokotaru Osada • Eiju Tsuru • Kiichi Fujiwara • Nisaburo Matsuyama • Shimetaro Hara • Gihei Oka • Gengan Tonaki • Denzo Ishizaki • Sadayoshi Tanabe • Yukichi Chuganji • Kameni Nakamura • Minsho Ozawa • Totaro Murakami • Kohachi Shigetaka • Nijiro Tokuda • Tomoji Tanabe • Jiroemon Kimura • Jokichi Ikarashi • Sakari Momoi • Yasutaro Koide • Masamitsu Yoshida • Masazo Nonaka • Chitetsu Watanabe • Issaku Tomoe • Shojiro Shirai