Kane Tanaka

Kane Tanaka Becomes World’s Oldest Living Person at 116

In a generation of chemically induced food products and just generally unhealthy lifestyle, to live long is almost impossible. We look up ways to lengthen our stay on earth online, but Google can only do so much. If there’s anyone who can give us the best pieces of advice on longevity, it’s the centenarians. A good example is Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest living person.

Kane Tanaka and Her Secret to Living Long

On March 9, 2019, Japanese centenarian Kane Tanaka was officially recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person following the death of previous record holder, 117-year-old Chiyo Miyako, in 2018. As of this writing, Kane Tanaka is 116 years and 76 days old.

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Tanaka lives on the southern island of Kyushu in Fukuoka, Japan. She was born on January 2, 1903, the seventh of the eight children of Kumakichi and Kuma Oto.

At 19, she got married to Hideo Tanaka, a man she never met before the wedding (something that was not strange in Japan at the time). The couple went on to have four children and adopted a fifth child. They ran a family restaurant called Tanaka Mochiya, which made and sold udon noodles and zenzai, a type of Japanese rice cake.

Unfortunately, her husband was called for the military and eventually died in the late 1930s. Her eldest son, Nobuo, met the same end when he fought in the Second World War. The deaths of her loved ones forced her to focus on the business while taking care of her family, including Hideo’s mother.

Like any other seniors, Tanaka’s health isn’t at its best. She had an eye cataract and was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 103. She endured several operations and now rests at a nursing home.


She wakes up as early as 6:00 a.m. and proceeds with her normal routine, which includes learning calligraphy and mathematics. Occasionally, Kane Tanaka goes for a walk and plays the board game Othello with the other seniors and some staff members at the facility.

The supercentenarian credits her family, faith, and lifestyle as her secrets to longevity. Her healthy diet is also one of the major factors that contributed to her long life, although she has admitted to feasting on soda, coffee, and chocolates sometimes.

If there’s one thing we can take away from Tanaka’s lifestyle, it’s this: live but don’t forget to enjoy!

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