Sunday, December 10, 2023

World’s oldest person dies at age 119

A Japanese woman officially certified as the world’s oldest person has died at age 119.

Kane Tanaka was born in 1903, the same year as George Orwell, at a time when Japan was emerging as a global power, the BBC reports.

She got married a century ago, and had four children. She spent her later years in a Japanese care home, where she enjoyed board games and chocolate.

With her death, the world’s oldest person is now Lucile Randon, a 118-year-old French nun.

Also in the year of her birth, Theodore Roosevelt was U.S. president and Edward VII was British king. The Wright Brothers carried out the first controlled flight of their motor-driven airplane, and the Tour de France was staged for the first time.

The following year, Russia went to war against Japan, suffering a major defeat.

Tanaka was the seventh of nine siblings. She married at age 19 and ran various businesses, including a noodle shop.

Her husband, whom she had not met before their wedding day, fought in the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, and her son fought in the Second World War, and was held captive by the Soviet Union.

Tanaka had been due to take part in the torch relay at the Tokyo Olympics, but the Covid pandemic prevented her from doing so.

On top of having a sweet tooth, she is said to have risen early at her retirement home, spending time on mathematics and calligraphy.

At a ceremony recognizing her as the world’s oldest person in 2019, she said she was happier than she had ever been.

Officially, the oldest-ever living person remains Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died at 122 years and 164 days in 1997.

Japan has the most elderly population in the world. More than a quarter of society are aged 65 or older. Diet, healthcare, and the fact many older people continue to work into their later years have been cited as reasons behind the lengthy lives.

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