World’s Oldest Person Celebrates 119th Birthday at Japanese Retirement Home | Japan

The oldest person in the world celebrated his 119th birthday in Japan, saying he was determined to extend the record by one year.

Kane Tanaka, who has a soft spot for soft drinks and chocolate, marked the milestone on Sunday with staff at the retirement home where she lives in Fukuoka Prefecture in southwestern Japan, according to media reports.

The Guinness Book of Records recognized Tanaka’s status in March 2019, when she was 116 years old; She then hit an all-time Japanese age record when she reached 117 years and 261 days in September 2020.

Born in 1903 – the year the Wright brothers made their first powered flight and the first Tour de France took place – Tanaka has lived through five Japanese Imperial reigns and is aiming to reach her 120th birthday, the Kyodo news agency cited of family members like saying.

Tanaka, who was born six months before George Orwell, is one of a large and growing number of Japanese centenarians.

In an estimate released in September ahead of the annual Respect for the Elderly Day, the health ministry said a record 86,510 people were aged 100 or older, an increase of 6,060 from the previous year. ‘last year.

Women make up the vast majority of centenarians, with men making up just over 10,000, the ministry said.

When the annual survey was first conducted in 1963, Japan had only 153 centenarians, but their number had climbed to over 10,000 by 1998.

Life expectancy in Japan, one of the world’s oldest societies, is also at an all-time high, at 87.74 for women and 81.64 for men.

The number of young people is declining, however, amid failed attempts to increase the country’s low birth rate.

Government figures showed 1.2 million people viewed the New Years as new adults – those who had turned 20 – a drop of 40,000 from last year and the lowest number since the first record keeping in 1968.

20-year-olds have made up less than 1% of the country’s population over the past 12 years, state broadcaster NHK said.

When Tanaka became the oldest person in Japan, she celebrated with a bottle of Coke – her favorite drink – and made a peace sign to the photographers.

While visitation restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic mean she has had limited contact with family members, she is said to have used gestures to communicate with nursing home staff and enjoys puzzles and games. company.

The seventh of nine siblings, Tanaka married at the age of 19 and helped run the family’s noodle shop after her husband and eldest son went to fight in the Second Sino War. Japanese, which began in 1937.

His 62-year-old grandson Eiji said he wanted to congratulate Tanaka in person as soon as possible. “I hope she stays healthy and has fun every day as she gets older,” Kyodo said.