Japanese man becomes world’s oldest university graduate at 96

Japanese man becomes world’s oldest university graduate at 96
Next stop the basement of the family house? (Image: snvv/Shutterstock)

A 96-year-old Japanese man is excited at the prospect of breaking more records after being recognised as the world’s oldest university graduate with his degree in ceramic arts.

Spritely senior Shigemi Hirata received his Guinness World Records certificate on Friday after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kyoto University of Art and Design earlier in 2015, local media reported today. Born on a Hiroshima farm in 1919 – the year the Allies and Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles – Hirata is something of a celebrity on campus.

“Students whose name I don’t even know call out to greet me,” he told Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper. “That gives me a lot of energy.” Hirata, who took 11 years to complete his ceramic arts course after taking up pottery as a pensioner, insisted he was not done setting records.

“My goal is to live until I’m 100,” he said. “If I’m fit enough it might be rather fun to go to graduate school.” Hirata, who served in the navy during World War II and has four great-grandchildren, added: “I’m so happy. At my age it’s fun to be able to learn new things.”

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