Tokyo's oldest man actually dead for 30 years

cakeordeath.jpg Sogen Kato was believed to be the oldest man in Tokyo. Officials heading out to congratulate him on his 111th birthday, however, met not an ancient gent but a corpse, mummified in his own bed for perhaps 30 years. [BBC; photo and cake by Ann Larie Valentine]


  1. I always wonder about these pension fraud cases. Do these families actually think no one will ever notice their 120 year old hermit relatives?

  2. They really should keep tabs on the “Top Ten Oldest Folks” list, just to make sure the membership rolls correspond to actual mortality.

    ‘Cause, you know, really old people have been known to occasionally die. Now and then. Sometimes without notice.

  3. No surprise they did it for the money. The old man was getting some sort of pension and it was being withdrawn. How much is the minimum soc security check in Japan?

  4. What kind of delusional, blind and apathetic isolation are we living in when a guy rots away in his bed for 30 years and no one notices?

    WTF indeed.

    1. Weirdly, when I read the post I thought, how sad and what an indictment of modern blah and so on that a man could remain dead and unnoticed for thirty years. But when I read the linked article and realised that his family knew he was dead all along but were keeping shtum for financial reasons, I thought, ah, so that’s OK then, things aren’t as bad as all that.

    2. These happen a few times a year in the US, where somebody wraps up grampa in saran wrap. Sometimes they are delusional people, but not so delusional thay won’t cash the pension check. I used to know an inspector for the US Social Security, and when they began correlating check rosters to local death certificates, they found piles of people who had buried the old man and never told the government.

  5. I’m just wondering what the WTF cake tastes like. It’s probably a meatloaf under the icing.

  6. Moyshe pupik! You don’t visit, you don’t call, you don’t write. What is it with young people these days? Meshugana putzhasher, kaker punum… Fransn zol esn zayn layb!

    Farshporn zol er oyf shteyn? Oy…

  7. this piece totally neeeded a picture of some old dude laying in a bed next to a birthday cake, with the Shocked Cat looking on.

  8. I think Goblin is giving the family a very generous benefit of the doubt! Dead is dead is dead!

  9. Predicted in an episode of “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” years ago.

  10. Clearly they need a new custom: they bring birthday cake to all pensioners, if you don’t come out for *that*, no pension!

  11. Death taxes are also extremely high in Japan. If the old man owned the house, his heirs would probably have to sell it to pay the tax. So, not only do you lose a family member, you lose your house as well.

  12. I have to confess, if I was living with an elderly relative with no friends & a regular pension check, I’d give at least a few minutes’ consideration to burying the body in my backyard when the time came.

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