Happy birthday, Kane!

Age is just a number…but still, you want to live as long as you can right? The average world life expectancy is 72 years old, but there are a handful of people to make it well past that. In fact, one of those is Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman who is the oldest living person in the world. She just turned 119 on January 2, 2022!

▼ She’s the first person to turn 119 in 22 years.

Kane was born in Wajiromachi, a village in Fukuoka prefecture that’s now part of Fukuoka City, in 1903, which was the 36th year of the Meiji period. She was the seventh of nine siblings and has lived through five different periods of Japanese history. She married at 19, and in 1937, when Japan began its war against China at what many say was the beginning of World War II, both her husband and her oldest son were drafted into the Japanese military, so she took over an udon restaurant to support her family.

▼ Kane at age 20

Kane now lives in an elderly care facility, where she communicates with the staff through gestures. She enjoys solving math problems and kanji puzzles, eating chocolate, and drinking carbonated beverages. When she’s feeling well, she even participates in group exercises with her fellow residents!

She was recuperating from a slight fever in the hospital on her birthday, but was able to celebrate a few days later in her care home, where she received dozens of bottles of her favorite drink, Oronamin C, which were arranged in a huge “119” shape, and a large cake covered in macarons with a chocolate plaque that said “Happy 119th birthday, the oldest in the world!”

▼ Her great-grandchild, who manages her Twitter account, thanked her supporters for their well wishes.

Kane became Guinness World Records’ oldest person alive at the age of 117 in 2019. At 119, she isn’t the longest living person ever yet; that title belongs to Jeanne Calmet of France, who lived to be 122 years and 164 days old. According to her family, Kane aims to live to 120. She has a Guinness World Record title to hold onto, after all!

Kane isn’t the only Japanese person recognized by the Guinness World Records. Japan also hosts the world’s oldest twins, the world’s most-viewed cat on YouTube, and the world’s fastest tissue puller. Japan is a place full of amazing people (and cats)!

Source: Livedoor News/Kyodo via Hachima Kiko, Kyodo, Yomiuri Shimbun, Twitter/@tanakakane0102
Top image: Pakutaso

Insert image: Wikimedia Commons/FMSky