Kane Tanaka, world’s oldest living person from Japan, extended her own record after she celebrated her 117th birthday on January 2 at a nursing home in Fukuoka. A local broadcaster showed Kane celebrating her birthday with nursing home staff and friends, taking a bite from a slice of her big birthday cake.
Last year, Guinness World Record officially confirmed Kane as the oldest person living on January 30 and was presented with her certificates, which also included the oldest woman living, at her home. Kane was born prematurely in 1903 as the seventh child of Kumakichi and Kuma Ota and got married to Hideo Tanaka on January 6, 1922, four days after her 19th birthday.
Kane met Hideo for the first time on their wedding day, which was not unusual in Japan at the time. The couple went on to have four children and adopted a fifth. Kane’s husband ran a family business called Tanaka Mochiya, where they made and sold sticky rice, Zenzai (a type of Japanese sweets), and Udon noodles.
The supercentenarian got involved in the family business after her husband joined the military in 1937 during the second Sino-Japanese War. She polished rice and made rice cakes besides looking after her children and mother in law. Kane underwent several operations in her lifetime, including cataracts and colorectal cancer.
The 117-year-old Kane is five years shy from breaking the record of the oldest person ever, which is held by Jeanne Louise Calment from France. Jeanne was born in 1875 and died at a nursing home in Arles, southern France in 1997 at the age of 122 years 164 days.
"The title for oldest living man is currently under investigation after Masazo Nonaka (Japan) passed away on 20 January 2019 at the age of 113 years 179 days. Further information will be announced upon confirmation of a new record holder," said the Guinness World Records.