Kane Tanaka: World’s oldest person dies aged 119 in Japan | World News


A Japanese woman believed to have been the world’s oldest person has died aged 119.

Kane Tanaka was born on 2 January 1903 – the year of the Wright Brothers’ first controlled flight of their motor-driven airplane and when Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

In 2019, the Japanese supercentenarian was confirmed as the oldest living person when she was aged 116 years and 66 days, according to Guinness World Records.

The mother-of-five died of old age at a hospital in Fukuoka city, western Japan, on 19 April Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, said.

Kane Tanaka, who is recognized as the world's oldest living person by Guinness World Records. Pic: Kyodo/AP
Ms Tanaka enjoyed playing the board game Othello and studying mathematics. Pic: Kyodo/AP

It added that her favourite food items were chocolate and fizzy drinks, and she had reportedly hoped to stay healthy until she was 120 years old.

Guinness World Records tweeted that it was sad to report her death and said Ms Tanaka was the “second oldest person ever recorded, behind only Jeanne Calment who lived to the age of 122”.

The seventh of eight children, she married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and they had four children and adopted a fifth.

She was usually up by 6am and enjoyed playing the board game Othello and studying mathematics.

Ms Tanaka was due to take part in the torch relay at the Tokyo Olympics but the pandemic prevented her from doing so.

Read more: Kane Tanaka celebrates her 117th birthday

Japan has a dwindling and rapidly ageing population. As of last September, the country had 86,510 centenarians, and nine out of every 10 were women.

In 2020, people aged 65 years and older in Japan accounted for approximately 28.4% of the total Japanese population, according to Statista.


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