Keiro no Hi

It’s national holiday in Japan! Today we celebrate Keiro no hi – the Respect for the Aged Day. Japan, more than any other industrialised nation is an ageing society with a birthrate of only 8.07 births per thousand people (in Austria, it’s 8.76). Walking around in Kyoto and seeing all the young mothers with small children, often two, sometimes even three, does not do much to prove those statistics, but maybe Kyoto is simply a good place to raise kids.

Anyway, back to the aged, who have statistics of their own. Just a few days ago, the government has published new numbers. Currently, there are 58.820 Japanese that are more than 100 years old (that’s 4423 more than last year). Why there are so many centenarians in Japan is open to speculation; personally I’m not sure whether I’d like to get that old. My grandmother often said that everything was fine until she turned 80 – and then it went downhill…

In any case, women do tend to get older than men. Of all the centenarians above, 87.1% are women, that’s more than 51.000. The oldest living Japanese – and also the oldest living person in the world – is also a women: Misao Okawa, born in 1898, is now 116 years old, imagine! She claims that sushi and lots of sleep are the reason for her longevity. I might just go and try that – good night!