World's oldest man, famous for his trademark knit cap, dies at the age of 113

Jaimie-lee Prince
Jan 21, 2019
11:29 P.M.
Share this pen

Masazo Nonaka was the oldest man alive before his passing on Sunday. He outlived several of his family, including children, before he died.


Nonaka, of Hokkaido, Japan,  died in his sleep on Sunday, January 20, at the age of 113. He was found by his granddaughter Yuko at around 1:30 a.m. 

At first, they thought that Nonaka was resting peacefully as usual. Closer inspection by Yuko's elder sister showed that he wasn't breathing, however. 


Nonaka reportedly died at the hot springs inn house which he used to run. Before his death, he would stroll through the building in his wheelchair. 

The Japanese man would also take weekly baths in the hot spring. He ate sweets after meals, read newspapers, and watched television to pass the time. 


Nonaka was in his home in Sapporo in the town of Ashoro when he died. Yuko said that their family doctor confirmed he was dead at the time.

She said: 

"He didn't have any health problem... He went peacefully and that's at least our consolation."

She added: 

"I had many quarrels with him, but we had enjoyed being together. I'm filled with feelings of gratitude."


Nonaka was known for his trademark knit cap that he wore as he passed through his inn. The inn has been run by four generations of his family.

Nonaka himself took over from his parents in running the business. He went on to outlive all his siblings and his wife who died in 1992. Three of their five children also passed away. 

Last year, at age 112 and 259 days, Guinness World Records recognized the supercentenarian as the oldest living man. He was born on July 25, 1905. 


That's the year that Albert Einstein wrote the Theory of Relativity. Nonaka also lived through World War I and the Russian Revolution. He was 48 when they crowned Queen Elizabeth, and saw the death of Princess Diana at 92. 

As of January 2, the world's oldest person is 116. Her name is Kana Tanaka and she is also Japanese. Like Nonaka used to, Tanaka is living a stress-free life. 


She plays her favorite board game, Othello, and take walks in the facility where she stays. She points to family, sleep and her faith as reasons for her old age. 

Tanaka hopes to live to the age of 120. She earned her title following the passing of Chiyo Miyako on July 22, 2018. She was 117. 

A woman in Russia, however, claims she is the oldest woman at 129 years old. Koko Istambulova also spoke about the atrocities she went through when she was younger. 

During the Second World War, she was deported into Soviet internal exile by Joseph Stalin. Istambulova said she witnessed many die in cattle-truck trains.

She says the only happy day she had was when she moved into a house built by her own hands after the purge. She is driven to tears when she remembers her deceased children.