Kane Tanaka (田中カ子, Tanaka Kane) (née Ota (太田, Ōta); 2 January 1903 – 19 April 2022) was a Japanese supercentenarian who, until her death at the age of 119 years and 107 days, was the oldest living person following the death of Chiyo Miyako on 22 July 2018.[2][3][4] She is the oldest verified Japanese person and the second-oldest verified person ever, after Jeanne Calment.[5][6]

Kane Tanaka
田中カ子
Kane Tanaka 117.webp
Tanaka celebrating her 117th birthday in 2020
Born
Kane Ota

(1903-01-02)2 January 1903
Wajiro Village, Fukuoka, Empire of Japan
Died (aged 119 years, 107 days)
Fukuoka, Japan[1]
OccupationStore owner
Known for
Spouse
Hideo Tanaka
(m. 1922; died 1993)
Children5

Personal life

Tanaka was born Kane Ota (太田カ子, Ōta Kane) on 2 January 1903 in the village of Wajiro (now part of Higashi-ku, Fukuoka), on the southern island of Kyushu,[7] the third daughter and seventh child of her parents, Kumayoshi and Kuma Ota.[8][9] Kane and her family said she was actually born on 26 December 1902 and that her parents delayed the process of filing the report for a week because they were not sure if she would survive,[10] as she was born prematurely.[11]

Kane's early childhood was during the last years of the Meiji period, which ended when she was nine, in 1912.[12][13] Kane married her cousin Hideo Tanaka in 1922,[14] with whom she had two sons and two daughters.[15] The couple also adopted their niece, the second daughter of Hideo's sister.[16][8] Kane's eldest daughter died shortly after birth and her second daughter died at the age of one in 1947, while her adoptive daughter died in 1945 at the age of 23 of an unspecified illness.[9][12][17] The couple worked in a store selling shiruko and udon noodles.[18][19]

Kane's husband was later drafted into the military, in which he served from 1937 to 1939; one of her sons was captured towards the end of World War II, as a military POW, and was held captive in Siberia before being released and returning home in 1947.[17] After World War II, the couple continued working in the store, with Kane converting to Christianity under the ministry of pastors stationed by the United States military.[9][20] Retiring from working at their store at 63, Kane traveled to the United States in the 1970s to visit her relatives in California and Colorado.[7][21] Her husband died in 1993 at the age of 90, after 71 years of marriage.[9]

Kane lived in a nursing home in Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, from September 2018, and was reportedly still in good health on her 118th birthday.[3][22] Tanaka was supposed to hold the Olympic torch at the 2020 Summer Olympics, but she withdrew from it due to concerns regarding an increase in COVID-19 cases in Japan.[23] She occasionally played the board game Othello, and took short walks in the nursing home's hallways. Her hobbies included calligraphy and solving arithmetic problems.[22] She had five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.[17] Tanaka died in a hospital in Fukuoka, on 19 April 2022, nine days after being verified as the second-oldest person to have lived. Her death was announced on 25 April 2022.[2][24] No cause of death was given, but her grandson said she had been feeling ill since late 2021, according to the Japanese Health Ministry.[25]

Health and longevity

Tanaka had several major illnesses, and was infected with paratyphoid fever with her adopted daughter at the age of 35.[26] She underwent pancreatic cancer surgery at the age of 45.[26] In 2006, Tanaka was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and underwent surgery when she was 103 years old.[7] Her life and longevity were noted by her second son and his wife four years later when they published a book called In Good and Bad Times, 107 Years Old.[9] At the age of 114, she was interviewed by KBC in September 2017.[27] On 9 March 2019, Tanaka was officially presented with the "World's Oldest Living Person" and "World's Oldest Living Woman" titles by Guinness World Records, verifying her longevity claim.[18] On 19 September 2020, she broke the record of longest-lived Japanese person, as well as the third-oldest person in the world, after surpassing Nabi Tajima's age of 117 years, 260 days.[5] On 10 April 2022, she surpassed the lifespan of Sarah Knauss to become the second-oldest verified person.[28]

 
Tanaka aged 20, c. 1923

Tanaka had said that she wanted to live to the age of 120, crediting her faith in the kami, family, sleep, hope, eating good food, and practicing mathematics for her longevity.[7][29] Her longevity, along with that of Jeanne Calment, has contributed to the debate that the maximum lifespan for humans could be 115–125 years.[4][30][31] After Tanaka's death, Frenchwoman Lucile Randon became the world's oldest validated living person.[32]

See also

References

  1. ^ "World's oldest person dies in Japan at 119".
  2. ^ a b "119歳 福岡市の田中カ子さん死去 ギネスで世界最高齢に認定". NHK News Web (in Japanese). 25 April 2022. Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  3. ^ a b "World's oldest woman celebrates 118th birthday". NHK World-Japan. 2 January 2021. Archived from the original on 7 January 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b "World's oldest person celebrates 119th birthday". The Japan Times. Kyodo. 2 January 2022. Archived from the original on 2 January 2022. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  5. ^ a b "117-year-old granny sets new record as Japan's oldest ever person". Kyodo News+. Archived from the original on 31 August 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  6. ^ McCurry, Justin (21 September 2020). "Woman, 117, marks becoming Japan's oldest ever person with cola and boardgames". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d Kashiwagi, Toshihiro (27 July 2018). 国内最高齢115歳、入所者励ます「頑張りんしゃい」 [At 115, the oldest man in Japan advises citizens to "try hard"]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  8. ^ a b Senda, Masakazu (9 March 2019). "World's oldest person confirmed as 116-year-old Kane Tanaka from Japan". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 23 September 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e "最高齢田中さん117歳に 戦争、病越え5時代生きる". The Nikkei (in Japanese). 2 January 2020. Archived from the original on 8 August 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  10. ^ Hana mo arashi mo 107sai : Tanaka kane chōju nihon'ichi e no chōsen. Mamoru Hanada, 衛 花田. Fukuoka: Azusa Shoin. 2010. ISBN 978-4-87035-380-0. OCLC 703431766. Archived from the original on 26 April 2022. Retrieved 23 January 2022.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ Hoda, Masashi (27 July 2018). 田中カ子さん115歳「-死ぬ気全然せんです」 [Japan's oldest woman, Kanako Tanaka, at 115: "I do not feel like dying at all"]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b "明治から生きる116歳描く夢 令和も「長生きしたい」". The Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 30 April 2019. Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  13. ^ McCurry, Justin (3 January 2022). "World's oldest person celebrates 119th birthday in Japan nursing home". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 3 January 2022. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  14. ^ Haq, Sana Noor; Jozuka, Emiko. "World's oldest living person turns 119". CNN. Archived from the original on 3 January 2022. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  15. ^ "5つ目の元号を迎える"歴史の生き証人"世界最高齢116歳田中カ子さん、願うのは「みんなが幸せな時代」". Sports Hochi (in Japanese). 26 March 2019. Archived from the original on 8 August 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  16. ^ Wharton, Jane (2 January 2020). "The oldest person alive is celebrating her 117th birthday today by tucking into a bowl of strawberries and cream". Metro. Archived from the original on 8 August 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  17. ^ a b c Tokyo, Richard Lloyd Parry (17 September 2020). "Number of Japanese centenarians surges to record 80,000". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 12 October 2020. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  18. ^ a b Masakazu Senda (9 March 2019). "福岡在住の田中カ子さんが、116歳66日で世界最高齢としてギネス世界記録に認定" (in Japanese). Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 24 February 2021. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  19. ^ "45歳ですい臓がん、103歳で大腸がんを克服! 世界最長寿・田中力子さん116歳". Daily Shincho (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 8 August 2021. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  20. ^ Naoko Sakamoto (21 September 2020). "国内の歴代最高齢 117歳の田中カ子さん 記憶に焼きつく祈る姿". Christian Press (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 18 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  21. ^ McIntosh, Linda (6 June 2016). "San Marcos couple celebrate aunt's 113th year". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 17 April 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Japan's oldest person Chiyo Miyako dies at 117". The Japan Times. Kyodo. 27 July 2018. Archived from the original on 26 July 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  23. ^ "Tokyo Olympics: World's oldest person pulls out of torch relay". BBC News. 6 May 2021. Archived from the original on 13 July 2021. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  24. ^ "The world's oldest person has died in Japan". The Independent. 25 April 2022. Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Kane Tanaka, World's Oldest Person, Dies at 119 in Japan". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  26. ^ a b Hanada (2010). Honto "In Good and Bad Times, 107 Years Old". Azusa College. ISBN 978-4-87035-380-0.
  27. ^ "元気に長生きする秘けつ" [The secret to a healthy long life] (in Japanese). KBC. 19 September 2017. Archived from the original on 10 August 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  28. ^ Rypke, Bakker (9 April 2022). "Kane Tanaka (119) sinds vandaag een-na-oudste mens ooit: waar ligt de grens?". NU.nl (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  29. ^ * Brennan, David (27 July 2018). "Who is the World's oldest Person? Chiyo Miyako Dies At 117, Passing Title To Kane Tanaka". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  30. ^ "World's oldest person turns 119, hopes to reach her 120th birthday". New York Post. 4 January 2022. Archived from the original on 4 January 2022. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  31. ^ Sergey Young (2021). Breaking the "Sound Barrier" of Lifespan. The Science and Technology of Growing Young: An Insider's Guide to the Breakthroughs that Will Dramatically Extend Our Lifespan ... and What You Can Do Right Now. BenBella Books. ISBN 978-1-953295-39-2. Archived from the original on 14 February 2022. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  32. ^ "French nun Sister Andre, 118, claims title of world's oldest person". France24. 25 February 2022. Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2022.

External links