The world’s oldest person turns 119: Happy birthday, beautiful Mama

The Guinness Book of World Records keeps updating the age of the oldest person on Earth. Last November, in the Philippines, the oldest person in the world, Francisca Susano, died at the age of 125.

That person is now a woman living in Japan. Her name is Kane Tanaka. Ms Tanaka was born on 2 January 1903. She was the seventh of eight children of Kumakichi and Kuma Ota.

The girl led a fairly ordinary life by the standards of the Japanese of that time. In 1922 she married her cousin Hideo Tanaka.

The girl gave birth to four children to Tanaka, the family adopted a baby girl. She lost her eldest son and husband during the Second World War. The adopted daughter did not survive these difficult events either.

All her life, Kane worked in the family shop selling rice cakes and udon. However, due to health problems, she retired at the age of 63. The fact is that even in her «younger» years she had to fight cancer.

The tumour returned again when Kane was 103 years old. But even in those venerable summers, colon cancer didn’t stop her from living. In 2019, a record was set for Kane, she was recognised as the third oldest Japanese woman.

The woman, who turned 119 on 2 January, cannot say for sure what the secret of her longevity is. Earlier in the interview, the Japanese woman admitted that her family, hope, healthy sleep and diet probably helped her to survive.

Of course, the woman rarely sees her family. Although she has been vaccinated against the coronavirus and has become the oldest person to receive the vaccination, doctors at the care home where she now lives fear that active contact could worsen her health.

Kane Tanaka remains sane. She writes poetry and loves to talk about her travels in America, where she has visited her nieces and nephews. Kane also enjoys calligraphy and calculus. She believes this helps her to keep her mind clear. Kane wants to live at least another five years.

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