116-year-old Japanese woman named by Guinness as world's oldest person

116-year-old Japanese Kane Tanaka, recognised as the oldest person by the Guinness World Records on Saturday (March 9), finally achieved the dream she had since she was 100.
Kane Tanaka was presented with a certificate of her title at the nursing home where she now lives in the south-western city of Fukuoka on March 9, 2019.
Kane Tanaka was presented with a certificate of her title at the nursing home where she now lives in the south-western city of Fukuoka on March 9, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (DPA, AFP) - A Japanese woman who still enjoys studying maths and playing the board game Othello is the world's oldest living person at the age of 116 years and 66 days, Guinness World Records says.

Kane Tanaka was on Saturday (March 9) presented with a certificate of her title at the nursing home where she now lives in the south-western city of Fukuoka, according to the publisher, which produces an annual book of world records and curiosities.

She was surrounded by her family, and the local mayor also attended the event, it said.

The title passed to her after another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, died on July 22, 2018 at the age of 117.

Madam Tanaka was born on January 2, 1903, the year when the Wright brothers launched the first powered flight, according to Guinness.

The seventh of eight children, Madam Tanaka married Hideo Tanaka on January 6, 1922, four days after her 19th birthday. The couple had four children, as well as another girl she adopted from her sister.

Her husband ran a business making and selling sticky rice, Udon noodles and a type of Japanese sweet called Zenzai.

 
 

During the second Sino-Japanese war that began in 1937, Madam Tanaka helped run the business, polishing rice, making rice cakes and looking after her children as well as her mother-in-law when her husband was serving in the military.

She still gets up at 6am every day and stays up until 9pm.  She passes the afternoons by studying mathematics and practising calligraphy.

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

Asked what moment she was the most happy in life, she replied: “Now.”

Japan has one of the world's highest life expectancies and was home to several people recognised as among the oldest humans to have ever lived.

They include Jiroemon Kimura, the longest-living man on record, who died soon after his 116th birthday in June 2013.

The oldest verified person ever - Jeanne Louise Calment of France - died in 1997 at the age of 122, according to Guinness. 

Guinness said the title of the world's oldest living man is currently under investigation after Japan's Masazo Nonaka died on January 20, 2019 at the age of 113 years.