116-year-old Japanese woman recognized as oldest person in the world
Past two Guinness record holders were also Japanese

At 116 years old, Kane Tanaka of Fukuoka, Japan was honored by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person, following a thorough search after the death of the previous record holder – Chiyo Miyako, also from Japan – who passed away in July 2018 at the age of 117.

Guinness officially recognized Tanaka in a special ceremony held at the nursing home where she resides, with her family and Fukuoka mayor Soichiro Takashima in attendance. The oldest person ever, according to Guinness, was Jeanne Louise Calment of France who lived to 122 years.

Tanaka’s life

Tanaka was born Jan. 2, 1903, the same year the Wright brothers launched humanity’s first powered flight. The seventh among eight children, she married her husband Hideo in 1922 and had four children together, adopting another child.

Her daily routine includes waking at 6:00 in the morning, and playing her favorite boardgame Othello – she’s become an expert at the game that she often beats the nursing home staff ; Tanaka also enjoys studying mathematics and doing calligraphy. When she was asked what moment she was the most happy in life, she replied, “Now.”

Japan and longevity

Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world (84 years old as of 2018, according to the World Health Organization), and has recorded most of the oldest persons who have ever lived. Even the previous holder before Tanaka and Miyako was Japanese.

Age is traditionally respected in Japanese culture, as people stay active and feel useful even during their 80s and beyond. Evidence for Japan’s numerous records of longevity can traced to their culinary tradition which revolves around fish, rice, vegetables, and other low-fat food.

Story and photos from AP & AFP

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