World’s Oldest Person Celebrates 117th Birthday

Kane Tanaka

Kane Tanaka, the oldest person alive, just celebrated her 117th birthday by enjoying a large bowl of strawberries and cream.

Born 11 months ahead of the Wright brothers’ 1st sustained motorized aircraft flight, Tanaka celebrated her special day on January 2. She was the seventh child of her parents, Kumakichi and Kuma Ota.

The Japanese supercentenarian was validated by the Guinness World Records as the oldest living person in the world last year. She is just five years away from the record set by French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, the oldest person who ever lived at age 122.

Tanaka, who now has five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, remains in good health and is still an expert at board games. She is even able to beat her care home staff regularly in Fukuoka in a game of Othello, reports Metro.


Four days after she turned 19 on January 6, 1922, she was married to her husband Hideo Tanaka. The pair had four biological children and an adopted child.

The family lived in Fukuoka Prefecture where they ran a business that made and sold udon noodles and a type of Japanese candy called Zenzai.

When her husband was drafted into military service in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Mrs. Tanaka took charge of running their business. Mr. Tanaka and their eldest son, Nobuo, were both killed in World War II.

Tanaka ran the family business until her retirement at 63 years old.

These days, Tanaka has maintained the habit of waking up early and spending her afternoons studying mathematics or calligraphy.

According to her family, Tanaka enjoys soda and sweets and has also kept a strong appetite.

When asked about her secrets for living a long life, she said they were: family, sleep and hope. Two years ago, she expressed her desire to live until at least 120 years old.

Feature Image via CGTN

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