A Japanese woman certified as the world’s oldest person has died at the age of 119, local officials have reported.
Kane Tanaka was born in January 2, 1903, in the southwestern Fukuoka region of Japan, the same year the Wright brothers flew for the first time and Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.
Tanaka is reported to have been in relatively good health until recently. She lived at a nursing home, where she enjoyed board games, solving maths problems, soda and chocolate.
In her younger days, Tanaka ran different businesses including a noodle shop and a rice cake store. She married Hideo Tanaka a century ago in 1922, giving birth to four children and adopting a fifth.
The elderly woman had purposed to use a wheelchair to take part in the torch relay for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, but the pandemic prevented her from doing so.
In 2019 when the Guinness World Records recognised her as the oldest person alive in 2019, she was asked what moment she was the happiest in life. Her answer: “Now.”
At the time, her daily routine was described as including a 6:00 am wake-up, and afternoons spent studying mathematics and practicing calligraphy.
“One of Kane’s favourite pastimes is a game of Othello and she’s become an expert at the classic board game, often beating rest-home staff,” Guinness said.
Local governor Seitaro Hattori hailed Tanaka’s life after she passed away 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 the World Bank data, Japan has the world’s most elderly population with around 28 percent aged 65 or over.
The oldest-ever living person verified by Guinness was Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died aged 122 years and 164 days in 1997.