Written By John Mutiso
A Japanese woman certified the world’s oldest person has died at the age of 119, local officials said Monday.
Kane Tanaka was born on January 2, 1903, in Japan’s southwestern Fukuoka region, the same year that the Wright brothers flew for the first time and Marie Curie became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize.
Tanaka was in relatively good health until recently and lived at a nursing home, where she enjoyed board games, solving maths problems, soda and chocolate.
Tanaka used to own a noodle shop and a rice cake shop when she was younger. In 1922, she married Hideo Tanaka and had four children before adopting a fifth.
When she was named the oldest person alive in 2019 by Guinness World Records, she was asked what moment in her life she was the happiest. “Now,” she says.
Her daily schedule was described at the time as beginning with a 6:00 a.m. wake-up and ending with afternoons spent studying mathematics and practicing calligraphy.
“One of Kane’s favorite pastimes is a game of Othello and she’s become an expert at the classic board game, often beating rest-home staff,” Guinness said.
Tanaka’s life was celebrated by local governor Seitaro Hattori after her death on April 19.
“I was looking forward to seeing Kane-san on this year’s Respect for the Aged Day (a national holiday in September) and celebrating together with her favorite soda and chocolate,” he said in a statement on Monday.
“I am extremely saddened by the news.”
According to World Bank data, Japan has the world’s most elderly population, with approximately 28 percent of the population aged 65 or over.
The oldest person ever verified by Guinness was Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days.
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