World’s oldest person dies in Japan at 119

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Tokyo (AFP) – A Japanese woman certified as the world’s oldest person has died at the age of 119, local officials said on Monday.

Kane Tanaka was born on January 2, 1903 in the southwestern Fukuoka region of Japan, the same year the Wright brothers first flew and Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Tanaka was relatively healthy until recently and lived in a nursing home, where she enjoyed board games, solving math problems, drinking sodas and chocolate.

In his youth, Tanaka ran various businesses, including a noodle shop and a rice cake shop. She married Hideo Tanaka a century ago in 1922, giving birth to four children and adopting a fifth.

She had planned to use a wheelchair to participate in the Tokyo Olympics torch relay in 2021, but the pandemic prevented her from doing so.

When Guinness World Records recognized her as the world’s oldest person in 2019, she was asked when she was the happiest in her life. His answer: “Now”.

His daily routine was described at the time as including a 6 a.m. wake-up call and afternoons spent studying math and practicing calligraphy.

“One of Kane’s favorite pastimes is a game of Othello and she has become an expert at the classic board game, often beating nursing home staff,” Guinness said.

Local Governor Seitaro Hattori hailed Tanaka’s life after he passed away on April 19.

“I was looking forward to seeing Kane-san on this year’s Respect for the Elderly Day (a holiday in September) and celebrating with his favorite soda and chocolate,” he said in a statement. Monday.

“I am extremely saddened by the news.”

Japan has the oldest population in the world, according to World Bank data, with around 28% aged 65 or over.

The oldest living person ever verified by Guinness was Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died aged 122 years and 164 days in 1997.