Kane Tanaka

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Kane Tanaka
Born(1903-01-02)2 January 1903 (age 117 years, 299 days)
Wajiro Village (now Higashi-ku, Fukuoka), Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
Known forOldest living person
(since 22 July 2018)
Hideo Tanaka
(m. 1922; died 1993)
Children5; 4 biological, 1 adopted

Kane Tanaka (田中カ子, Tanaka Kane, born 2 January 1903) is a Japanese supercentenarian, who currently holds the title of being the world's oldest verified living person at age 117 years, 299 days.[1] Historically, her age places her as the third-oldest verified person and oldest verified Japanese & Asian person ever documented.[2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Kane Tanaka, née Ota, was born on 2 January 1903 in the village of Wajiro (now part of Higashi-ku, Fukuoka), on the southern island of Kyushu.[4] She was the third daughter and seventh child by her parents Kumayoshi and Kuma Ota.[5][6] Kane was premature and raised on breast milk from nurses.[7] Events that occurred during her birth year include the first airplane ever flown by the Wright brothers.[8] Kane's childhood included events that took place during the waning years of the Meiji era which ended when she was nine. She graduated Jinjo Elementary School in 1915 and became a babysitter at the age of 12.[9] Kane married her cousin Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and they eventually had two sons and two daughters who were both born premature.[10] The couple also adopted a third daughter during their marriage who was the second daughter of Hideo's sister.[8][5] Kane lost her eldest daughter shortly after birth while her adoptive daughter died at the age of 23 of an unspecified illness in 1945.[9][11]

The couple worked in a store selling shiruko and udon noodles, and her husband was later drafted into military service which lasted from 1937 to 1939. One of her sons was captured towards the end of World War II as he also served in the military. Kane gave birth to a second daughter but she died at the age of one in 1947.[6] Concurrently, her son was held as a prisoner in Siberia before he was released and returned home in 1947.[11] After World War II the couple continued working in the store and Kane converted to Christianity under the influence of the United States military who had pastors stationed.[6] Kane retired from working at their store at 63, and traveled to the United States in the 1970s to visit her relatives in California and Colorado.[4][12] Her husband Hideo Tanaka later died in 1993 at the age of 90.[6] Kane has been living in a nursing home in Higashi-ku, Fukuoka since September 2018, and is reportedly still in good health. She occasionally plays Othello, takes short walks in the facility's hallways, and her hobbies include calligraphy and calculations.[13][14] She has a total of five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.[11]

Health and longevity[edit]

Kane had suffered several major illnesses and was infected with paratyphoid fever with her adopted daughter at the age of 35.[15] She underwent pancreatic cancer surgery at the age of 45, gallstone removal surgery at the age of 76, and cataract surgery at the age of 90.[15] Kane was most recently diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent surgery when she was 103 years old.[4] Her life and longevity was noted by her second son and his wife four years later when they published a book called: In Good and Bad Times, 107 Years Old.[6] By the age of 114 she was interviewed by KBC in September 2017.[16] Tanaka said she would like to live to the age of 120, crediting family, sleep, and hope for her longevity.[4][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "World's Oldest Person Kana Tanaka Birthday". 6 January 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  2. ^ NEWS, KYODO. "117-year-old granny sets new record as Japan's oldest ever person". Kyodo News+. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  3. ^ McCurry, Justin (21 September 2020). "Woman, 117, marks becoming Japan's oldest ever person with cola and boardgames". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Kashiwagi, Toshihiro (27 July 2018). 国内最高齢115歳、入所者励ます「頑張りんしゃい」 [At 115, the oldest man in Japan advises citizens to "try hard"]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b Senda, Masakazu (9 March 2019). "World's oldest person confirmed as 116-year-old Kane Tanaka from Japan". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e "最高齢田中さん117歳に 戦争、病越え5時代生きる". The Nikkei (in Japanese). 2 January 2020. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  7. ^ Hoda, Masashi (27 July 2018). 田中カ子さん115歳「-死ぬ気全然せんです」 [Japan's oldest woman, Kanako Tanaka, at 115: "I do not feel like dying at all"]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  8. ^ a b "The oldest person alive is celebrating her 117th birthday today by sucking into a bowl of strawberries and cream". 2 January 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  9. ^ a b "明治から生きる116歳描く夢 令和も「長生きしたい」". The Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 30 April 2019. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  10. ^ "5つ目の元号を迎える"歴史の生き証人"世界最高齢116歳田中カ子さん、願うのは「みんなが幸せな時代」". Sports Hochi (in Japanese). Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Tokyo, Richard Lloyd Parry. "Number of Japanese centenarians surges to record 80,000". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  12. ^ McIntosh, Linda (6 June 2016). "San Marcos couple celebrate aunt's 113th year". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Japan's oldest person Chiyo Miyako dies at 117". The Japan Times. Kyodo. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  14. ^ 1 1 5. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  15. ^ a b Hanada (2010). Honto "In Good and Bad Times, 107 Years Old". Azusa College. ISBN 978-4-87035-380-0.
  16. ^ "元気に長生きする秘けつ" [The secret to a healthy long life] (in Japanese). KBC. 19 September 2017. Archived from the original on 10 August 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  17. ^ Brennan, David (27 July 2018). "Who is the World's oldest Person? Chiyo Miyako Dies At 117, Passing Title To Kane Tanaka". Newsweek. Retrieved 27 July 2018.

External links[edit]