Local officials confirmed Monday that Japan’s oldest individual, a woman verified to be 119 years old, had died.
Kane Tanaka was born on January 2, 1903, in the Fukuoka area of southwest Japan, which was a year before the Wright brothers made their first flight and Marie Curie became the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize.
Before her current illness, Tanaka was in good condition and lived in a nursing home, where she enjoyed playing board games and solving arithmetic problems, as well as soda and chocolate.
At one point in her life, Tanaka was the owner of several enterprises, including a restaurant serving noodles and a bakery selling rice cakes. A century ago, in 1922, she married Hideo Tanaka; they had four children and adopted one more.
The epidemic prevented her from participating in the torch relay for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which she had intended to perform in a wheelchair.
As the oldest person still alive in 2019, she was asked what moment in her life made her the happiest. Her response was, “Right now.”
Afternoons were spent studying mathematics and doing calligraphy, according to her regular schedule at the time.
When it comes to the popular board game Othello, Guinness stated, “Kane has honed her skills such that she often beats the caregivers at the rest home.”
After Tanaka’s death on April 19, the city’s governor, Seitaro Hattori, paid tribute to her life.
In a statement on Monday, he said he was looking forward to seeing Kane-san on this year’s Respect for the Aged Day (a national holiday held in September) and celebrating with her favourite soda and chocolates.
“The news is really upsetting,” he said.
Approximately 28 percent of Japan’s population is over 65, according to World Bank figures. Jeanne Louise Calment, a Frenchwoman who died in 1997 at 122, was Guinness World Records’ oldest-living person.