"I don't want to die," Tomoji Tanabe told reporters Monday, while receiving a certificate from the Guinness World Records at a ceremony in southern Japan verifying him as the world's oldest male.
Tanabe, who lives in the southern city of Miyakonojo, took the title in January following the death of Puerto Rico's Emiliano Mercado Del Toro, who at 115 was also the oldest human. But Tanabe, born Sept. 18, 1895, was certified by Guinness only earlier this month, according to Kyodo News agency.
Tanabe, a former city land surveyor, thanked his children and grandchildren for caring for him over the years and described Monday's event as "nothing special."
Coincidentally, the world's oldest person, a woman, is also Japanese. Yone Minagawa, 114, was born Jan. 4, 1893.
The number of Japanese living beyond 100 has almost quadrupled in the past 10 years, with the once-exclusive centenarian club expected to exceed 28,000 this year. Experts often attribute the longevity to a Japanese diet rich in vegetables and fish.