Kane Tanaka, World’s Oldest Living Person, Turns 119

Photo: CNN

According to great-granddaughter Junko Tanaka, the world’s oldest living person, Kane Tanaka, celebrated her 119th birthday.

“Great achievement. (Kane Tanaka) reached 119 years of age,” Junko wrote on Twitter, with a photograph of her great-grandmother, whom she saw in December. “I hope you’ll continue to live life cheerfully and to the fullest.”

Junko also shared a photo of two commemorative Coca-Cola bottles that Tanaka received for her birthday. The beverage company personalized the labels with her name and age.

“Birthday gift 1: Introducing the presents received for Kane’s birthday. Really appreciate this gift. Coca-Cola company made a commemorative birthday bottle. It seems (Kane) is still drinking Coca-Cola as usual,” Junko tweeted.

In March 2021, Junko spoke to CNN and during that time, Kane was preparing to carry the Olympic torch ahead of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Junko started the Twitter account in January 2020 to memorialize Kane’s life.

“I might be biased because I’m related to her but I think it’s kind of amazing — I wanted to share that with the world and for people to feel inspired and to feel her joy,” Junko said.

Kane was born in 1903 and married a rice shop owner at 19. She then worked in the family store until she was 103.

Tanaka has survived many historical events, including two world wars and the 1918 Spanish flu. Her life has spanned 49 Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

“I don’t remember her talking much about the past … She’s very forward thinking – she really enjoys living in the present,” Tanaka’s grandson, Eiji Tanaka, told CNN last year.

According to her family, Tanaka now lives in a nursing home in Fukuoka prefecture, where she keeps her mind and body engaged by doing math.

In 2019, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized her as the world’s oldest living person.

In September 2021, Spain’s Saturnino de la Fuente García was recognized as the world’s oldest living man at 112 years old. Born in 1909, he endured the Spanish Civil War as a shoemaker.

According to a press release from Guinness World Records, he said the secret to a long life is “A quiet life… and do not hurt anyone.”

Kane received congratulatory messages from Twitter users on her birthday.

“It’s awesome that at 119 years old she can look straight at the camera and make a peace sign,” said Twitter user @TuNatoron.

“Congratulations!! Please always stay healthy,” said Mee-san, another Twitter user.

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