86-Year-Old Bodybuilder Breaks Own Record, Becomes Oldest to Ever Compete in Japan
Getting older doesn’t mean we have to stop doing the things that make us feel vital and alive, and Toshisuke Kanazawa is inspiring proof of just that. The 86-year-old Japanese bodybuilder recently competed in the Japan bodybuilding championship, and beat his own record as the oldest person ever to do so in Japan.
Kanazawa, who lives in Hiroshima, competed in the 68th edition of the championship in Osaka against other men much younger than himself. This is the second year in a row he has competed in the Japan championship, and has twice won it in the past. Although Kanazawa didn’t make it to the final 12, he wasn’t disappointed, and is grateful to have had the opportunity to participate. “I hope I can reach the hearts of others when they see me take on a challenge even in old age,” Kanazawa says.
Kanazawa began competing seriously at age 20, and won the Japan championship for the first time four years later. At 27, he won his second Mister Japan title, and by the age of 34 he decided he’d had enough, and retired. However, he made his comeback before turning 50, to encourage his wife, as he explains, who was prone to ill-health. He remembered that nothing had made her happier than when he was winning, and he then decided to resume his training, refine his diet, and start competing again. He quit smoking and drinking, cut meat and fish from his diet, and returned to meals primarily consisting of rice, fermented soya beans, and miso soup with eggs, and started spending three hours a day in the gym.
At 57, Kanazawa won the Masters championships for bodybuilders age 40 and above, and he has been a Japan champion a total of 15 times. In 2016, he achieved sixth place in the world in a competition for bodybuilders over 65, and earned his special medal as the oldest competitor.
The legendary fitness fanatic has no plans to retire anytime soon, and aspires to keep competing for at least another four years. He finished second in the 34th edition of the Japan Masters championship held in Hokkaido in August 2022, and he’s been invited to the world championships in November in Spain. “I’m still not anywhere near the finish line. It’s important to keep setting goals and taking on challenges no matter how old you are,” Kanazawa says. “I’d like to set myself as an example to other grandpas and grandmas in the world by living healthy until 100.”