Kane Tanaka holds calligraphy with the kanji representing the Reiwa Era. Born on Jan. 2, 1903, she has lived through five imperial eras. (MIE ASO/Rafu Shimpo)


Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest woman, celebrated her 117th birthday on Thursday. Born Jan. 2, 1903, Tanaka was confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest person. She lives a comfortable life at a nursing home in Fukuoka.

Among her favorite pastimes is the board game Othello; she also enjoys mathematics.

At the ascendancy of Emperor Naruhito last May, Tanaka was presented with a chocolate representing the new Reiwa Era. She has lived through five imperial eras. She was designated the world’s oldest person last March, following the passing of  Chiyo Miyako, who died in July 2018 at age 117.

Tanaka has an extended family, including Japanese American relatives who live in Southern California.

In an interview, when asked about the secret of longevity, she said: “Eat delicious food, study, and play Othello. That’s it.”

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