A Japanese doctor who saw patients until just months before his death has passed away at the age of 105.

Shigeaki Hinohara was for decades the director and public face of St Luke's International Hospital in the capital Tokyo.

It was so well known as an "international" hospital that it treated luminaries such as Paul McCartney when he fell ill during a 2014 Japanese tour, the Daily Mail reports.

Hinohara is credited with helping to set up the medical systems that have made Japan one of the world's longest-lived nations.


He was born in 1911, a year before the Titanic sank, and was working at St Luke's as early as 1945, when he treated victims of the World War II Tokyo firebombing that left vast swathes of the city in ruins.

"From the start of this year his health wasn't so good, but until then he'd drop into the hospital every so often to conduct exams and talk with patients," a hospital spokeswoman said.

In 1954, Hinohara introduced Japan's "human dry-dock" system of comprehensive annual physical exams, which was part of the preventive medical system and said to contribute to Japan's longevity.

Hinohara was an early advocate for healthier living and released 75 books on ways to stave off the ills of ageing. One book became bestseller on living well which he wrote at the age of 101. He was also a popular guest on Japanese television.

He once described a lifestyle that included orange juice with olive oil for breakfast and said that energy comes from feeling good, not fixed rules about living.

"We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep," he was quoted as saying.

"I believe we can keep that attitude as adults - it's best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime."