World’s oldest person celebrates 119th birthday in Japan nursing home

January 3, 2022
Japan's oldest person Kane Tanaka, 119, has lunch at a nursing home on July 27, 2018 in Fukuoka, Japan.


Kane Tanaka celebrated her 119th birthday in Japan on Sunday, extending her record as the world’s oldest person to another year. 

According to multiple Japanese media outlets, Tanaka took in the new year and her birthday at a nursing home in Fukuoka, Japan. 

Tanaka’s family said that she intends to live another year to reach her 120th birthday, further bolstering her feat in Guinness Book of Records, which began officially tallying her age in March of 2019 when she had turned 116

Eiji Tanaka, the 62-year-old grandson, told the Japanese news outlet Kyodo: “I hope she remains healthy and has fun every day as she grows older.”

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Tanaka, born in 1903, previously eclipsed the Japanese record for years lived when she turned 117 years and 261 days back in September of 2020. On that occasion, she famously posed for photographers with a peace sign while drinking a Coke (she has an affection for carbonated drinks). 

During Tanaka’s lifespan, she witnessed five Japanese imperial reigns, two world wars and was born the same year that the Wright brothers made their first powered flight and six months before British novelist George Orwell. 

Tanaka is the seventh of nine siblings and married when she was 19 years old. She supported her family by running a noodle shop when her husband and eldest son fought in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which began in 1937.

The number of centenarians in Japan has increased. According to records released by the Japanese health ministry in September, 86,510 people were aged 100 or older, up 6,060 from the previous year.  

The oldest man in the world, Jiroemon Kimura, died at 116 in 2013. French supercentenarian Jeanne Calment lived to be 122 as the oldest verified recorded person in history, dying in 1997. 


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