Tanaka celebrating her 117th birthday in 2020
|Birth:||2 January 1903|
Wajiro (now Fukuoka), Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
|Death:||19 April 2022|
|Age:||119 years, 107 days|
Kane Tanaka [Japanese: 田中カ子] (née Ota; 2 January 1903 – 19 April 2022) was a Japanese supercentenarian who, at the age of 119 years, 107 days, is the second-oldest person in history whose age is validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG), behind only Jeanne Calment of France, who was over three years older than her.
At the time of her death, Tanaka was recognized by Guinness World Records as being the oldest living person in the world since the death of Chiyo Miyako on 22 July 2018. Since surpassing the final age of Nabi Tajima in September 2020, Tanaka has held the record as the longest-lived Japanese person of all-time whose age has been validated by the GRG.
In January 2022, Tanaka became only the third validated person on record to reach the age of 119, and the first to do so since Sarah Knauss in September 1999. On 10 April 2022, nine days before her death, Tanaka surpassed Knauss’ final age of 119 years, 97 days to become the second-oldest validated person in recorded history.
Kane Tanaka was born prematurely on 2 January 1903 in the village of Wajiro (now part of the city of Fukuoka), Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. She was the seventh of either eight or nine children (sources differ) born to Kumakichi and Kuma Ota. Tanaka and her family claimed that she was actually born on 26 December 1902 and that her parents delayed the process of filing the report for a week because they weren't sure if she would survive.
Tanaka's early childhood was during the last years of the Meiji period, which ended when she was nine, in 1912. She married her cousin Hideo Tanaka (c. 1902 – 9 February 1993) on 6 January 1922, although they did not meet before their wedding. The couple had four children and adopted a fifth. Their eldest daughter died shortly after birth, and their second daughter died at the age of one in 1947, while their adopted daughter died at the age of 23 in 1945.
During World War II, Tanaka worked in her family's store, Tanaka Mochiya, selling rice cakes and noodles. Her son Nobuo was captured by the Soviets, but was released in 1947. After the war, Tanaka converted to Christianity under the influence of pastors stationed in Japan by the United States military. She continued to work in the store before retiring at the age of 63. To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 1972, Tanaka and her husband travelled to the United States, where she has family, and they visited Disneyland.
Tanaka's husband died in 1993 after 71 years of marriage. At the age of 90, Tanaka underwent an operation for cataracts, and at the age of 103, she survived a bout of colon cancer, also having to undergo surgery. When she was 107, her son wrote a book about her life and longevity.
Tanaka enjoyed calligraphy, writing poetry, playing Othello and doing math problems. She also enjoyed eating chocolate, and drinking Coca-Cola and Oronamin C. Tanaka stated that she had wanted to live to the age of 120. She attributed her longevity to her faith in God.
Since 2005, Tanaka had lived in a nursing home in Fukuoka prefecture, Japan. When she was 116, it was reported that she could get around with the help of a walker. In January 2020, Tanaka celebrated her 117th birthday with family and friends at her nursing home. However, in January 2021, she was not able to celebrate her 118th birthday in the same manner due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2021, it was reported by her relative on social media that Tanaka had fallen ill shortly after turning 118, but had successfully recovered. In a February 2021 photo, Tanaka was pictured wearing an oxygen tube.
Tanaka was scheduled to carry the Olympic Torch during the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics torch relay when the flame passed through Shime, Fukuoka, on 11 May 2021. It was expected that Tanaka's family would push her in a wheelchair for most of her 100-metre leg, but she may have walked the final few steps before passing the torch to the next runner. However, due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in Japan, it was decided that it would not be safe for this to happen.
Around September 2021, Tanaka received the COVID-19 vaccine, making her the oldest validated person to get vaccinated against the disease.
On 13 April 2022, just six days before Tanaka’s death, it was reported by her family on Twitter that she had repeatedly been in and out of the hospital, but despite her health declining, she still enjoyed eating chocolate, and drinking Coca-Cola and Oronamin C.
Tanaka died from natural causes at a hospital in Fukuoka, Japan on 19 April 2022 at the age of 119 years, 107 days. Her death wasn't announced until 25 April. Following her death, Lucile Randon of France became the world’s oldest validated living person, and Fusa Tatsumi became the oldest validated living person in Japan.
Tanaka became the world's oldest validated living person upon the death of Chiyo Miyako on 22 July 2018. Tanaka became the last surviving Japanese person born in 1903, following the death of Shimoe Akiyama on 29 January 2019. She also became the last validated person in the world born in 1903, following the death of Maria Giuseppa Robucci of Italy on 18 June 2019.
On 9 March 2019, Tanaka was officially presented with the "World's Oldest Living Person" and "World's Oldest Living Woman" titles by Guinness World Records. On 15 December 2019, she became one of the ten oldest validated people ever recorded after surpassing Maria Capovilla's final age of 116 years, 347 days.
On 2 January 2020, Tanaka celebrated her 117th birthday, making her the fourth Japanese person to do so. Upon reaching the age of 117 years, 261 days on 19 September 2020, Tanaka broke Nabi Tajima's record to become the longest-lived validated Japanese person ever recorded. She also became the third-oldest validated human being of all-time, after Jeanne Calment and Sarah Knauss.
On 2 January 2021, Tanaka celebrated her 118th birthday; this was only the third time in history that a person has verifiably reached the age of 118, and the first such birthday since September 1998.
On 2 January 2022, Tanaka celebrated her 119th birthday, making her only the third validated person in history to reach the age of 119 and the first such birthday since September 1999.
Following the death of Yoshi Otsunari on 26 January 2022, Tanaka became the last surviving Japanese person born before 1907.
On 10 April 2022, Tanaka became the second-oldest validated person on record, surpassing Sarah Knauss’ final age of 119 years, 97 days.
Tanaka died on 19 April 2022, at the age of 119 years, 107 days, nine days after surpassing Knauss' record.
For more pictures, please see: Kane Tanaka/Gallery.
- GRG World Supercentenarian Rankings List Gerontology Research Group
- Kane Tanaka, 116 Photo Gallery, GRG
- 【福岡県】 一人ひとりが持ち味を発揮して 入居者の“思い”に応えるホーム Diamond Weekly, 31 March 2012 (Archived)
- San Marcos couple celebrate aunt’s 113th year The San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 May 2016
- 国内最高齢１１５歳、入所者励ます 「頑張りんしゃい」 Asahi Shimbun, 27 July 2018
- 田中カ子さん１１５歳「-死ぬ気全然せんです」 Mainichi Shimbun, 27 July 2018
- １１５歳国内最高齢の田中カ子さん 「みんなのおかげ」と感謝 カフェオレ毎日３、４本 The Sankei News, 27 July 2018
- Who Is the World's Oldest Person? Chiyo Miyako Dies at 117, Passing Title to Kane Tanaka Newsweek, 27 July 2018
- World’s oldest person confirmed as 116-year-old Kane Tanaka from Japan Guinness World Records, 9 March 2019
- The World’s Oldest Person Can’t Get Enough of These Foods The Daily Meal, 11 March 2019
- 明治から生きる１１６歳描く夢 令和も「長生きしたい」 The Asahi Shimbun, 30 April 2019
- JA CONNECTIONS TO WORLD’S OLDEST PERSON The Rafu Shimpo, 1 June 2019
- 現在、地球上で最高齢の田中カ子さんにお会いしてきました！ Blog post, 12 August 2019
- 45歳ですい臓がん、103歳で大腸がんを克服！ 世界最長寿・田中力子さん116歳 Daily Shincho, 29 August 2019
- 世界最高齢となった田中カ子さま（グッドタイムホーム１・海の中道にお住まい）にお話を伺いました Good Time Home, November 2019
- 最高齢田中さん117歳に 戦争、病越え5時代生きる The Nikkei, 2 January 2020
- Kane Tanaka: World's oldest woman celebrates her 117th birthday Sky News, 6 January 2020
- 117歳の田中さんに特製チョコ 世界最高齢「老人の日」でお祝い Yahoo Japan, 14 September 2020
- Tanaka sets new Japan age record at 117 years, 261 days Kyodo News, 19 September 2020
- Woman, 117, marks becoming Japan's oldest ever person with cola and boardgame The Guardian, 21 September 2020
- Oldest person in world from west Japan aged 117 to join 2021 Olympic torch relay Mainichi Shimbun, 5 November 2020
- World's oldest person marks 118th birthday in Fukuoka The Japan Times, 2 January 2021
- 【快挙】誕生日を迎え、ついに、日本人初の118歳になりました... @tanakakane0102 on Twitter, 2 January 2021
- お久しぶりです... @tanakakane0102 on Twitter, 2 March 2021
- CNN Exclusive: Aged 118, the world's oldest living person will carry the Olympic flame in Japan CNN, 5 March 2021
- Tokyo Olympics: World's oldest person pulls out of torch relay BBC, 6 May 2021
- World's oldest person in Japan celebrates 119th birthday Kyodo News, 2 January 2022
- Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest living person, turns 119 CNN, 3 January 2022
- 10 Longevity secrets from 119-year-old Japanese woman Kane Tanaka Times Now, 4 January 2022
- 世界最高齢、福岡市の田中カ子さんが死去 119歳 News.line, 25 April 2022
- World’s oldest person, Kane Tanaka, dies aged 119 Guinness World Records, 25 April 2022
- World's oldest person, Kane Tanaka, dies in Japan aged 119 CNN, 25 April 2022
- Longevity Secrets From Kane Tanaka, the Second Oldest Person to Ever Live Newsweek, 25 April 2022
- Kane Tanaka, world’s oldest person, dies at 119 Al Jazeera, 26 April 2022
- This Was The Go-To Diet Of The World's Oldest Person Tasting Table, 26 April 2022
- At 119, She Was a Symbol of How to Live With Wit and Vitality The New York Times, 29 April 2022
|Japan's Oldest Living Person Titleholders (V • T • E)|
Waka Shirahama • Tane Ikai • Sue Utagawa • Suekiku Miyanaga • Asa Takii • Tase Matsunaga • Yasu Akino • Denzo Ishizaki • Kayo Fujii • Mie Ishiguro • Matsuno Oikawa • Yukichi Chuganji • Mitoyo Kawate • Ura Koyama • Yone Minagawa • Shitsu Nakano • Tsuneyo Toyonaga • Kaku Yamanaka • Kama Chinen • Chiyono Hasegawa • Jiroemon Kimura • Misao Okawa • Anonymous (Tokyo) • Nabi Tajima • Chiyo Miyako • Kane Tanaka • Fusa Tatsumi
|Japan's Oldest Living Woman Titleholders (V • E)|
Sue Watanabe • Unknown • Tome Yoshida • Haru Komai • Ishi Hayashi • Yoshigiku Ito • Tome Horigome • Haruno Shimada • Mito Umeta • Niwa Kawamoto • Isa Nakayama • Man Ichikawa • Koume Kabira • Matsu Yoshikuni • Koharu Kodaira • Oto Michii • Toka Miyata • Momu Okuma • Ine Tsugawa • Seki Takehara • Waka Shirahama • Tane Ikai • Sue Utagawa • Suekiku Miyanaga • Asa Takii • Tase Matsunaga • Yasu Akino • Kayo Fujii • Mie Ishiguro • Matsuno Oikawa • Mitoyo Kawate • Ura Koyama • Yone Minagawa • Shitsu Nakano • Tsuneyo Toyonaga • Kaku Yamanaka • Kama Chinen • Chiyono Hasegawa • Koto Okubo • Misao Okawa • Anonymous (Tokyo) • Nabi Tajima • Chiyo Miyako • Kane Tanaka • Fusa Tatsumi