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Japanese way of Life. Wake up early. Worry less. Have more Fun!

The Long life in Japan

“Long life appeals to everyone, the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone”

 SUPER-OLD IN JAPAN: “Don´t retire. But if you must, do so a lot later than age 65”. This advice for long life from doctor Shigeaki Hinohara, the Japanese who became 105. Until a short time before his death in Tokyo, Hinohara continued to treat and heal patients. He kept an appointment book with space for five more years and worked up to 18 hours a day even when reached 105. Hinohara created the Japanese way of life and practiced what he preached.

Emperor Akihito met with Shigeaki Hinohara. The emperor abdicated in 2019
Emperor Akihito met with Shigeaki Hinohara. The emperor abdicated in 2019.

Japan World Leader

Hinohara underlined the importance of regular exercise. He took two stairs at a time, and gave 150 lectures a year, usually for up to 90 minutes – all done standing. Dr. Hinohara built the foundation of Japanese medicine and helped making Japan the world leader in longevity.
He pointed out that people living a long life shared something important. They are not overweight, as obesity is the most significant risk factor for getting sick and death.

Guide Living Long

Hirohara´s guide for living was simply worry less about eating well or getting more sleep, but more about having fun! As child, when having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep.

“I believe we can keep that attitude as adults, too. It’s best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime”, Hirohara said. He believed in a life about contribution, and had this incredible drive to help people, to wake up early in the morning and do something wonderful for other. This was driving him and what kept him living.


Doctor Shigeaki Hinohara
Doctor Shigeaki Hinohara

Food. Drink. Doctors

“If you want to live long, don´t be overweight” was Dr Hirohara rule number one. His breakfast included coffee, a glass of milk, and orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Olive oil is great for the arteries and keep skin healthy. His lunch was milk and a few cookies. He focused on work and was never hungry. Dinner was veggies, fish, and rice, or 100 grams of lean meat twice a week.

“Don’t blindly follow what doctor says, doctors can´t cure everyone. So, why cause unnecessary pain with surgery? I think music and animal therapy can help more than most doctors imagine.”

Simply Have Fun!

From time to time, we all feel pain and one of Hirahara’s best advice to conquer pain, is simply to have fun!
“Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it. If a child has a toothache, and you start playing a game together, he or she immediately forgets the pain. Hospitals must cater to the basic need of patients: We all want to have fun. At St. Luke’s Hospital we have music and animal therapies, and art classes.”

Peace in Art

Shigeaki Hinohara lived an extraordinary life for many reasons. Toward the end he was unable to eat but refused a feeding tube. He was discharged and died months later at home.
Instead of trying to fight death, Hinohara found peace through art and especially these lines by Robert Browning: There shall never be one lost good! What was, shall live as before.

A person who is 100 years or older is a centenarian. A person 110 years old or older is called a supercentenarian. At the start of 2024, 92,000 Japanese was  more than 100 years old. Next population on this statistic is Malaysia with 43,000.

World´s Oldest Woman

The door to healthy long life is to steer clear of booze and tobacco, exercise, stay optimistic, delay gratification, keep learning and seek out the funny side of life. According to Spaniard Maria Branyas, the world’s longest living woman. She is 116 and still very much around.

Advice from Maria

“Peace, tranquility, good connection with family and friends, contact with nature, emotional stability are some key factors. Stay away from toxic people. Natural yoghurt, genes and luck also help”

Closer to death

Time is gold and time is on the side of the very old. They are freed from employment, child-rearing, care-giving, and juggling. Male and female, they perhaps appreciate when so much closer to death what to really value in life. Paradoxical, the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone!

Before you visit Japan

What Japanese Kaizen means?

Kaizen is made of two Japanese words that translate as “good change” or “improvement.” However, Kaizen has come to mean “continuous improvement” through methodology and principles.

What is Japanese ikigai?
Three rules of ikigai: Take it slow. Don´t fill your stomach. Stay active; don´t retire. Many work well into their 80`s and 90`s.

Japanese for no
“No” in Japanese is to say iie – pronounced like “eee-eh” “Hai” is the simple, direct word for “yes”.

Facts about Japan

A traditional Christmas Eve meal is KFC.
A good manner is to slurp your noodles.
There is a bizarre naked festival in Japan.
The number four is extremely unlucky.

Japanese philosophy

Here are two examples of Japanese philosophy.
Shinto is a religious and philosophical tradition. It emphasizes the link between humans and nature, the importance of rituals, and harmony.

Buddhism and in particular Zen Buddhism, has been highly influential. About meditation, mindfulness, and direct experience for insight.

How is life in Japan?

Japan has a rich cultural heritage, and for many a favorable country to live. With high standard of life, economic opportunities, and so much to offer.

Unique things about Japan

Gambling is illegal. Japan eats the most seafood in the World, and you are allowed to take naps on the job.


Gudmund Lindbaek
Gudmund Lindbaek
Journalist founded King Goya online travel magazine. Meeting people for engaging stories. I´m off to uncover the best strategies for long life living. This is part of my venture “Around the World in 80 Lanes” – about travel, run sprint, staying fit! I just want a tiny slice of adventures to feel alive, and then excited to return home.


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