World’s oldest person dies at 119 – International

Kane Tanaka
(photo: Handout / Fukuoka Prefectural Government / AFP)

A Japanese woman recognized as the world’s oldest person has died at the age of 119, local authorities announced on Monday.

Kane Tanaka was born on January 2, 1903 in the Fukuoka region (southwest Japan), the same year that Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Tanaka had been in relatively good health until recently and lived in a nursing home, where she enjoyed board games, solving math problems, soft drinks and chocolate.

In her youth, she had several businesses, including a noodle shop and a rice cake shop. Kane married Hideo Tanaka a century ago, in 1922, with whom she had four children and adopted a fifth.

She intended to use a wheelchair to participate in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics torch relay, but the pandemic prevented her presence.

When the Guinness Book of Records recognized her as the world’s oldest person in 2019, she was asked at what point in her life was she the happiest and replied, “Now.”

Her daily routine has been described as: waking up at 6:00 am and afternoons devoted to studying math and practicing calligraphy.

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

Local governor Seitaro Hattori highlighted the life of Tanaka, who passed away on April 19.

“I had planned to meet Kane at this year’s Respect for Seniors Day (a national date in September) and celebrate with his soda and chocolate. The news makes me very sad,” he said in a statement released on Monday.

According to World Bank data, Japan is the country with the longest population in the world, with 28% of people aged 65 and over.

The oldest living person verified by Guinness was Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died at the age of 122 years and 164 days in 1997.

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