Kane Tanaka, a 116-year-old woman from Japan, has just been officially acknowledged as the world's oldest living individual by Guinness World Records. A very special ceremony was recently set up by the organization in the Fukuoka nursing home where Tanaka resides. The event celebrated the life of this incredible woman, with Tanaka's family and the city's mayor all reported to have been in attendance.
As the New York Post reports, Kane Tanaka has stated that she normally makes it a habit to be up before 6 a.m. She also enjoys doing mathematical work and playing the classic 1970s board game Othello, which was created by Goro Hasegawa.
Her great-nephew, Gary Funakoshi, has suggested that her longevity may in part be due to the Shinto religion that she subscribes to, which places a focus on worshipping kami, or, spirits.
Tanaka came into this world on January 2, 1903, the same year that the Wright brothers successfully flew the first powered airplane. She was raised in a family of eight children.
She later married Hideo Tanaka in 1922 and had five children with her husband, one of whom was adopted. During World War II, Kane made her living selling rice cakes, in a store that she ran with Hideo.
Before Tanaka, Guinness had listed another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, as the oldest living person, but Miyako reportedly passed away last year. She was 117-years-old at the time of her passing.In general, Japanese individuals tend to fare much better than others in regard to age, topping the list of those who have lived the longest. While recent dietary changes in Japan -- along with the consumption of more traditionally Western foods -- has brought more obesity to the country, Japan's diet still focuses on much more healthy fare, such as rice, vegetables, and fish, along with foods that are significantly lower in fats, compared to those found in Western countries.
Kane Tanaka and other Japanese citizens who have been honored by Guinness World Records have also been helped by a society that greatly values and respects its older citizens. Those aged 80 and above frequently exercise and remain active, helping them to stay alert in all of their day-to-day activities.
While Kane Tanaka has just been officially named as the oldest living individual on the planet, so far, the oldest person who ever lived -- as documented by Guinness World Records -- was a French woman named Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived until the ripe age of 122.