Mbah Gotho, the Man Who Claims to be 145

Despite claiming to be the oldest person ever known on earth, Mbah Gotho doesn’t know exactly how old he is because there are no records that verify his date of birth. This type of record-keeping wasn’t widely available until the twentieth century.
Mbah Gotho, the Man Who Claims to be 145
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

They say death has forgotten Mbah Gotho. They also say that his records are authentic, and this old man is no more and no less than 145 years old.

It’s hard to believe. Despite being used to reading stories about people who have turned a century old, we’ve never heard of such a case.

Now there’s one detail that cannot go unnoticed: Mr. Gotho doesn’t want to live anymore. In his own words, “I wait for death calmly and without fear, although it seems to want to avoid me.”

Many people are eager to learn his secret to longevity, and the answer the protagonist himself reveals is truly beautiful.

We’ll explain more below.

The secret of Mr. Mbah Gotho’s longevity

Mbah Gotho was born on December 31, 1870. This is what’s written on his ID card and even in the official records of the island of Java, where he lives and was born 145 years ago.

If this is true, he would certainly be the oldest person ever known. So far, the record is held by Jeanne Calment (1875-1997), a Frenchwoman who passed away at the age of 122.

Mbah Gotho identification card

You might be wondering why Mr. Mbah Gotho isn’t in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The answer is simple:

  • All of the official information on Mbah Gotho’s date of birth are on the island of Java. For the Guinness Book of World Records to accept an age claim, there must be a third source for independent verification. However, there is no such source
  • This is largely due to the fact that official registers didn’t begin to be common until the 20th century.

Despite not holding that record for the “oldest man,” everyone accepts that his age is authentic. Mbah Gotho is about to turn a century and a half old. It’s absolutely amazing.

Many family members left behind

A long life offers one many opportunities. It allows you to learn, correct mistakes, amend failures, and even “reset” your life many times. Mbah Gotho has led, according to him, a good life, but now he has only sad memories.

  • He has buried four wives. He’s said goodbye to all of his children and siblings, 10 in total.
  • He knows very well that his situation is not natural. The laws of life lead children to bury their parents, not the other way around.

When he wakes up every morning, he must accept the infinite memories of people who no longer exist. They are echoes of a past that remind him of his long life and force him to wonder why.

Why is he still here, while those who loved him so much now have been at rest for a long time?

Mr. Mbah Gotho is resigned to his humble life, surrounded by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mbah Gotho talking

The secret of the longevity of Mbah Gotho

There are two ingredients, he explains, to his long life:

  • The first is that he stayed close to the people who loved him his whole life. Love is the engine of life and the reason why we fight every day to continue spending time with our loved ones.
  • The second ingredient has to do with the culture of the island of Java. There is a beautiful Javanese proverb that you should remember if you want to live long: “he who is patient lives longer.”

Mbah Gotho tells us that he has always been an infinitely patient person. He’s always focused his existence on accepting, on letting things go at their own rhythm, on observing calmly, and not getting angry.

So much so that his own grandchildren say with humor that their grandfather never complains about anything. Accept everything that others offer you to eat and receive love without asking for anything.

A clear mind that wishes to go

The only wish that Mr. Gotho has carried with him for more than 20 years: a headstone and a place to rest when death comes to close his eyes and reunite him with his family.

  • That day has not yet arrived, however, and the world’s oldest man’s neighbors and friends want to keep him a little closer by their sides.
  • It doesn’t matter that he can no longer see, that he cannot fend for himself. Mbah Gotho is a source of wisdom who speaks clearly of a past that no one else can remember.
Hands like those of Mbah Gotho

His people appreciate him because he is a hero who fought against invaders – he fought against the Japanese in the war. Additionally, throughout his life, he worked with his hands to support his family.

Despite all the admiration of his people, however, we can all understand his desire. He says his life weighs on him and the years have brought him fatigue, aging, and most significantly, separation from his loved ones.

The oldest man in the world just wants to close his eyes, because his has been a full life. Like any great warrior he simply craves the rest that he deserves.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.