“They see me playin’… They hatin’… Surveillin’ tryin’ to catch me slidin’ dirty.” ~ Kimura, from his Grammy-winning Crokinole-inspired hit Slidin’ in 2006
TOKYO—Jiroemon Kimura, rap icon and holder of the Guinness World Record as the oldest person alive and the oldest man ever, died Wednesday in a freak Crokinole accident. He was 116.
Kimura, a longtime resident of Shitsushi, Japan, was playing the tabletop game with another unidentified man when he was struck between the eyes by a flying gamepiece. He toppled backwards and reportedly murmured “Gofuku…” (Translation: “Kimono…”) before expiring. No one is certain why.
“Jiroemon Kimura was an exceptional person,” said Craig Glenday, Guinness’ editor-in-chief of World Records. “I can’t say that I actually knew him personally; few did. But he was old… and in my book, that makes him exceptional. It’s funny, but when most people say ‘in my book’ they don’t really have a book. I do, obviously, and if you turn to the pages for ‘oldest man alive’ and ‘oldest man ever’ you’ll see his name there. Well… not next year, obviously. His death has complicated things for me, as well as spoiling a dandy record.”
Keen to find someone who did know Kimura, Mooseclean’s looked elsewhere.
“I knew Jiroemon for 77 years, which is to say not very well,” said Nanashi No Gombe, 77, a lifelong acquaintance. “He was a hard man to know. In three quarters of a century only a few things were made clear to me: he loved women, green tea, extreme sports, and being a gangsta. In that order.”
Kimura was a fierce competitor, with several Grammy Awards and many trophies for full-contact shuffleboard and extreme bridge decorating his small home. Investigators on the scene of his fatal accident determined that his Crokinole board had been lightly coated with a lubricating powder, a common though controversial practice.
“Crokinole is a dangerous game even without the lube,” said Teri Modo Rika, 23, one of Kimura’s many girlfriends. “But that’s the man he was. He loved danger. And lubricant.”