Kane Tanaka
Kane Tanaka
Tanaka celebrating her 117th birthday in 2020
Birth: 2 January 1903
Wajiro (now Fukuoka), Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
Age: 118 years, 210 days
Country: JapanJPN
Validated

Kane Tanaka [Japanese: 田中カ子] (née Ota; born 2 January 1903) is a Japanese supercentenarian who, at the age of 118 years, 210 days, is recognised by Guinness World Records as the oldest living person in the world. Her age is also validated by Gerontology Research Group (GRG).

Since surpassing the age of Nabi Tajima in September 2020, Tanaka has held the record as the longest-lived Japanese person of all-time whose age has been validated by the GRG. Furthermore, she also became the third-oldest validated person in world history, after Jeanne Calment and Sarah Knauss. In January 2021, Tanaka became only the third validated person ever to reach the age of 118.

Biography

Early Life

Kane Tanaka was born prematurely on 2 January 1903 in the village of Wajiro (now part of the city of Fukuoka), Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. She was the seventh of either eight or nine children (sources differ) born to Kumakichi and Kuma Ota. She married her cousin Hideo Tanaka on 6 January 1922, although they did not meet before the wedding. The couple had four children and adopted a fifth. Their eldest daughter died shortly after birth, and their second daughter died aged one in 1947, while their adopted daughter died aged 23 in 1945.

During World War II, Tanaka worked in her family's store, Tanaka Mochiya, selling rice cakes and noodles. Her son Nobuo was captured by the Soviets, but was released in 1947. After the war, Tanaka converted to Christianity under the influence of pastors stationed in Japan by the United States military. She continued to work in the store before retiring at the age of 63. To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 1972, Tanaka and her husband travelled to the United States, where she has family, and they visited Disneyland.

Later life

Tanaka's husband died in 1993 after 71 years of marriage. At the age of 90, Tanaka underwent an operation for cataracts, and at the age of 103 she survived a bout of colon cancer, also having to undergo surgery. When she was 107, her son wrote a book about her life and longevity. Tanaka enjoys calligraphy, writing poetry, playing Othello, and doing math problems. She enjoys eating chocolate and drinking Coca-Cola. Tanaka attributes her longevity to her faith in God.

Since 2005, Tanaka has lived in a nursing home in Fukuoka prefecture, Japan. When she was 116, it was reported that she could get around with the help of a walker. In January 2020, Tanaka celebrated her 117th birthday with family and friends at her nursing home. However, in January 2021 she was not able to celebrate her 118th birthday in the same manner due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March 2021, it was reported by her relative on social media that Tanaka had fallen ill shortly after turning 118, but had successfully recovered. In a February 2021 photo, Tanaka was pictured wearing an oxygen tube.

Tanaka is scheduled to carry the Olympic Torch during the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics torch relay when the flame passes through Shime, Fukuoka, on 11 May 2021. It is expected that Tanaka's family will push her in a wheelchair for most of her 100-metre leg, but she may walk the final few steps before passing the torch to the next runner.

Longevity Records

Tanaka became the world's oldest validated living person upon the death of Chiyo Miyako on 22 July 2018. Tanaka became the last surviving Japanese person born in 1903 following the death of Shimoe Akiyama on 29 January 2019, and the last person in the world born in 1903 following the death of Italian Maria Giuseppa Robucci on 18 June 2019.

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. On 15 December 2019, she became one of the ten oldest validated people ever recorded after surpassing Maria Capovilla's final age of 116 years, 347 days.

On 2 January 2020, Tanaka celebrated her 117th birthday, making her the fourth Japanese person to do so. Upon reaching the age of 117 years, 261 days on 19 September 2020, Tanaka broke Nabi Tajima's record to become the longest-lived validated Japanese person ever recorded. She also became the third-oldest human being of all-time, after Jeanne Calment and Sarah Knauss. On 2 January 2021, Tanaka celebrated her 118th birthday; this was only the third time in history that a person has verifiably reached the age of 118, and the first such birthday since 1998.

Gallery

References


World's Oldest Living Person Titleholders (VE)

Betsy BakerJennie HowellMarie CarstensonNancy RyanChristina Karnebeek-Backs • Marie Olsen • Mary Kelly • Elizabeth Kensley • William Fullingim • Hannah Smith • John Mosley Turner • Johanna Booysen • Marie Bernatkova • Ada Roe • Josefa Salas Mateo • Alice Stevenson • Elizabeth Watkins • Mito Umeta • Niwa Kawamoto • Sophia DeMuth • Marie-Virginie Duhem • Fannie Thomas • Augustine Tessier • Nellie Spencer • Emma Wilson • Mathew Beard • Augusta Holtz • Mary McKinney • Anna Eliza Williams • Florence Knapp • Jeanne Calment • Marie-Louise Meilleur • Sarah Knauss • Eva Morris • Marie Bremont • Maud Farris-Luse • Grace Clawson • Adelina Domingues • Mae Harrington • Yukichi Chuganji • Mitoyo Kawate • Ramona Trinidad Iglesias-Jordan • Maria Capovilla • Elizabeth Bolden • Emiliano Mercado del Toro • Emma Tillman • Yone Minagawa • Edna Parker • Maria de Jesus • Gertrude Baines • Kama Chinen • Eugenie Blanchard • Maria Gomes Valentim • Besse Cooper • Dina Manfredini • Jiroemon Kimura • Misao Okawa • Gertrude Weaver • Jeralean Talley • Susannah Mushatt Jones • Emma Morano • Violet BrownNabi Tajima • Chiyo MiyakoKane Tanaka


World's Oldest Living Woman Titleholders (VE)

Betsy BakerJennie HowellMarie CarstensonNancy RyanChristina Karnebeek-Backs • Marie Olsen • Mary Kelly • Elizabeth Kensley • Auguste Pahl • Hannah Smith • Yoshigiku Ito • Johanna Booysen • Marie Bernatkova • Ada Roe • Josefa Salas Mateo • Alice Stevenson • Elizabeth Watkins • Mito Umeta • Niwa Kawamoto • Sophia DeMuth • Marie-Virginie Duhem • Fannie Thomas • Augustine Tessier • Nellie Spencer • Emma Wilson • Augusta Holtz • Mary McKinney • Anna Eliza Williams • Florence Knapp • Jeanne Calment • Marie-Louise Meilleur • Sarah Knauss • Eva Morris • Marie Bremont • Maud Farris-Luse • Grace Clawson • Adelina Domingues • Mae Harrington • Mitoyo Kawate • Ramona Trinidad Iglesias-Jordan • Maria Capovilla • Elizabeth Bolden • Julie Winnefred Bertrand • Emma Tillman • Yone Minagawa • Edna Parker • Maria de Jesus • Gertrude Baines • Kama Chinen • Eugenie Blanchard • Maria Gomes Valentim • Besse Cooper • Dina Manfredini • Koto Okubo • Misao Okawa • Gertrude Weaver • Jeralean Talley • Susannah Mushatt Jones • Emma Morano • Violet Brown • Nabi Tajima • Chiyo MiyakoKane Tanaka


Japan's Oldest Living Person Titleholders (V • TE)

Waka Shirahama • Tane Ikai • Sue UtagawaSuekiku Miyanaga • Asa Takii • Tase Matsunaga • Yasu Akino • Denzo Ishizaki • Kayo Fujii • Mie Ishiguro • Matsuno Oikawa • Yukichi Chuganji • Mitoyo Kawate • Ura Koyama • Yone Minagawa • Shitsu Nakano • Tsuneyo Toyonaga • Kaku Yamanaka • Kama Chinen • Chiyono Hasegawa • Jiroemon Kimura • Misao Okawa • Anonymous (Tokyo) • Nabi TajimaChiyo MiyakoKane Tanaka

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