The Guinness World Records honored a Japanese woman on Saturday for becoming the world’s oldest living person at 116 years old.
In a simple ceremony, Kane Tanaka was officially handed the certificate at the nursing home in Fukuoka, in southwest Japan, where she lives.
Tanaka, who is a cancer survivor, was attended by her family and mayor as she celebrated the honor.
When she was asked what part of her life she enjoyed most, Tanaka replied: “This right now.” And the board game Othello, apparently.
Tanaka was born the seventh of eight children on January 2, 1903. In 1922, she married Hideo Tanaka and had four children while adopting a fifth.
She usually gets up by 6 am and keeps her mind busy by studying mathematics.
About her longevity, she previously attributed it to a strong appetite as well as her love of sweets, coffee, and fizzy drinks. However, her great-nephew, Gary Funakoshi, credited her spirituality and faith.
Chiyo Miyako used to hold the title of the longest living person in the world but she died in July at the age of 117.
Miyako, who was also from Japan, was described as kind and patient as well as a “chatty goddess.” She loved calligraphy and eating sushi and eels.
After Miyako died, two people stepped forward with the claim that they were the oldest living people in the world yet their claims have yet to be verified by Guinness.
Jose Ferreira dos Santos lives in the municipality of Itajuipe in Bahia, Brazil, and claims to be 118 years old. His birth certificate says that he was born on November 9, 1900, which would make him two years older than Tanaka.
However, the other contender, Koku Istambulova is supposedly 129 years old. Her Russian passport and pension papers appear to show that she was born on June 1, 1889.
If verified, Istambulova would easily become the oldest person ever. This accolade is currently held by Jeanne Louise Calment who was born in France in 1875 and lived to 122.
Calment was said to have kept cycling until she turned 100 and smoked for much of her elderly years until she was 117.
Japan tends to top the list when it comes to the oldest people in the world because even with changing dietary habits, obesity is still rare in a nation where fish, rice, vegetables, and other low-fat food are the focus of culinary tradition.
High respect is also traditionally accorded to people of age so the elderly are well-cared for and usually stay active even in their 80s and beyond.
Guinness is now investigating who can be considered the world’s oldest man after Masazo Nonaka, who lived on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, died in January at 113.
Guinness World Records maintains three longevity categories: the oldest living person (male), oldest living person (female), and oldest person living.
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