Web Japan > NIPPONIA No.29 > Special Feature*
NIPPONIA No.29 June 15, 2004

Special Feature*
Educator, Omura Hama (97)
Omura Hama (born 1906) says she is a lifelong teacher. She taught for 52 years, mostly at public junior high schools, before retiring at the age of 74. She also conducted research into new methods to teach the Japanese language in schools, and is well known for an innovative method she developed. It involves using newspaper and magazine clippings as teaching materials, and emphasizes raising students' ability to think and learn on their own. She lectures on education about once every one or two months, traveling to different parts of the country. She also keeps busy writing. "I haven't done anything special to live this long. My doctor tells me my heart is strong. If I have a secret to long life, it would be: Don't worry!"

Life Expectancy: Facts and Figures
According to the 2003 United Nations World Population Prospects, Japanese life expectancy is now 81.5 years (77.9 for men, 85.1 for women). That is the longest in the world for both men and women. Japanese women are doing especially well—they have been top in the world for 18 years, ever since 1985.

Life expectancy, Japan, 1947−2000
(Data from Kan-i Seimei Hyo, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare)

Note: Figures for Okinawa are not included
in statistics for 1970 and previous years.

Life expectancy, various countries
(Data from 2003 United Nations World Population Prospects)

Country Male Female
Japan 77.9 85.1
Sweden 77.6 82.6
Spain 75.9 82.8
Australia 76.4 82.0
Canada 76.7 81.9
Switzerland 75.9 82.3
France 75.2 82.8
Norway 76.0 81.9
Belgium 75.7 81.9
Italy 75.5 81.9
Austria 75.4 81.5
Greece 75.7 80.9
(Unit: Age)


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