It is a title that is competed for by several different prospective master Methuselahs, but there’s ever only one oldest alive at any given time in a region. It is often a point of pride for many to have outlived their peers as well as extend the life expectancy of any given generation. It was then with surprise that Tokyo’s oldest man, once thought to be 111 years old, was discovered lying in his bed, a mummified skeleton.
Mr. Kato had been officially declared Tokyo’s oldest man but in actuality had passed on almost 30 years ago. The strange arrangement prompted welfare officials to investigate but, Mr. Kato’s family had done everything they could to stop the investigation. Mr. Kato received, all together, 9.5 million yen. As police broke into the house, suspecting some sort of fraud, they found him lying in bed, clearly dead for several years. Yutaka Moroe in an interview with BBC news said “his family must have known he had been dead all these years and acted as if nothing happened. It’s so eerie.”
Unfortunately, cases such as this one are not entirely unheard of in history. For example, a report by the Atlanta Journal Constitution outlined an Atlanta Man’s scam to continue to collect and spend his mother’s pension benefits after she had died. Titus Alexander Anderson, age 62, collected over $55,000 over the course of five years, despite the fact that he mother should have no longer been earning pension, as she no longer fit the one major requirement: life.
But the morbid practice of keeping the deceased long after they have passed on is not limited exclusively to those who are simply to make a quick buck. As recently as June of this year, a woman disinterred her sister and her husband and was living with them both, if you can call it that. It’s suspected the woman was doing this in order to stay close to her family rather than have them be in a cemetery, and ultimately removed from her life. Interestingly, she was said to be entirely in control of her mental faculties during the time this was going on.
But there are some legal instances where deceased loves ones are kept in the home after death. For example, many people find a need to preserve their pets through taxidermy and keep them within the home. Which, while strange, is acceptable for some people.
Tokyo has an average life expectancy of 85.5 years for women and 78.5 years for men. The city’s population of 35 million makes it the most populace city in the world. And yet, the crown for oldest man in the city will have to go to someone else now, who is hopefully still alive.
Additionally, since this story first broke there is information that the reported oldest woman in Tokyo has been missing since 1980.