A Catholic Perspective on Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara’s 12 Principles for a Long Life

Listen to this article

In 2017, Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, a Japanese doctor who lived to be 105, shared 12 principles for a long, fulfilling life. Many people found these principles remarkable, not just for their focus on physical health but also for their wisdom concerning mental and spiritual well-being. As a Catholic scholar, I am interested in exploring these principles in the light of Catholic teaching.

The Body, Mind, and Soul in Catholic Teaching

Before diving into Dr. Hinohara’s principles, it’s crucial to understand the Catholic view on human life. According to the Church, human beings are not merely biological entities. We consist of body, mind, and soul. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the ‘form’ of the body” (CCC 365).

Dr. Hinohara’s Principles and Catholic Wisdom

1. Don’t Retire

Dr. Hinohara worked well into his 90s. His advice is not to retire unless you must for health reasons. The idea aligns with the Catholic notion of the dignity of work. According to the Catechism, “Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth” (CCC 2427).

2. Take the Stairs

Dr. Hinohara emphasized the value of regular, low-intensity exercise like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. This could be viewed through the lens of taking care of one’s temple, the body. St. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

3. Don’t Overeat

Moderation in eating, a form of temperance, has a parallel in Catholic teaching. Proverbs says, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite” (Proverbs 23:2).

4. Always Plan Ahead

Dr. Hinohara kept a busy schedule but always planned ahead. Planning aligns with the virtue of prudence. “The prudent man looks where he is going” (Proverbs 14:15).

5. Share What You Know

The doctor believed in sharing his medical knowledge. This is in harmony with the Christian command to share spiritual wealth. “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8).

6. Don’t Worry About Material Possessions

Dr. Hinohara advised against excessive worry about material things, a point the Bible underscores: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19).

7. Science Alone Can’t Cure People

Here, Dr. Hinohara acknowledges the limits of medicine and the need for spiritual support in healing. Catholic teaching insists that true healing is holistic, involving the whole person, including the spiritual dimension (CCC 1508).

8. Find a Role Model

Having a role model can guide one’s path in life. Catholics find the ultimate role model in Jesus Christ. “I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).

9. Don’t Be Crazy About Money

This aligns with the Biblical teaching of “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

10. Pain is Mysterious

Dr. Hinohara spoke about the mystery of pain and suffering. Catholic teaching also delves into the mystery of suffering but offers hope through the Cross (CCC 1505).

11. Have Fun

Dr. Hinohara emphasized joy and fun in life. Catholicism, too, speaks of joy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

12. Don’t Be Afraid to Die

Finally, Dr. Hinohara encouraged people not to fear death. Catholicism teaches that “Death is the end of earthly life,” but not the end of existence (CCC 1007).

A Holistic Approach

Both Dr. Hinohara’s principles and Catholic teaching advocate a holistic approach to life that involves the body, mind, and soul. While the principles he espoused are not explicitly religious or Catholic, many of them are compatible with the faith.


Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara’s principles for a long life offer practical wisdom for physical, mental, and even spiritual well-being. Viewing them through the lens of Catholic teaching, we find numerous points of compatibility. They remind us that life, a gift from God, is not to be squandered but lived fully, with dignity and purpose, always aiming for the ultimate goal: union with God.

🙏 Your PayPal Donation Appreciated

Select a Donation Option (USD)

Enter Donation Amount (USD)


As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you.

Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Scroll to Top