A Japanese woman recognized as the world’s oldest person has died at the age of 119, local authorities in the Fukuoka region of southwestern Japan announced on Monday.
Kane Tanaka was born on January 2, 1903, the same year that Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, that the Wright brothers made their first flight with a powered aircraft, and that the automaker Ford was founded in the US.
She was in relatively good health until recently and lived in a nursing home, where she enjoyed playing board games, solving math problems, drinking soda, and eating chocolate.
In January, the Spaniard Saturnino de la Fuente García, considered the oldest man in the world, died in León.
Her daily routine lately has included waking up at 6 am and dedicating her afternoons to studying math and practicing calligraphy. “One of Kane’s favorite pastimes is a prank of Othello [jogo de tabuleiro]and she often beats the house staff,” Guinness said in a profile of the Japanese woman.
The record book certified her as the oldest person in the world in 2019. On the occasion, asked about what moment in life she had been happiest, she replied: “Now”.
The death occurred last Tuesday (19), but it was only announced this Monday, with senility identified as the cause.
Kane married Hideo Tanaka a century ago, in 1922, with whom he had four children and adopted a fifth. In her youth, she had several businesses, including a noodle shop and a rice cake shop.
She intended to use a wheelchair to participate in the Tokyo Olympics torch relay, but the pandemic prevented her presence.
The local governor, Seitaro Hattori, mourned Kane’s death. “I planned to meet her on Respect Day for Seniors this year. [data nacional comemorada em setembro] and celebrate with your soda and chocolate. The news makes me very sad,” she said in a statement.
According to World Bank data, Japan is the country with the longest population in the world, with 28% of people aged 65 and over. September data indicated 86,510 centenarians, 90% of them women.
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.