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Kane Tanaka and the secret of women’s longevity in Japan

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At 119 years and 108 days old, until his death on April 19, he was the oldest living person in the world, as recognized by the Guinness Record that was awarded to him in March 2019 (when he was 116 years old). On April 10, she had managed to surpass the record of the American Sarah Knaus (who died at 119 years and 97 days) but could not reach 120 years, as he wanted.

His birth name was Kane Otabut the world knows her as Kane Tanaka, surname of her husband, whom she married at the age of 19 and with whom she worked until her retirement in the family business, where they sold shiruko (a traditional Japanese dessert) and udon noodles. She had four children and adopted a niece.

He was born on January 2, 1903 in Wajiro, a town on an island in Japan called Kyushu (in Fukuoka prefecture) and He experienced two world wars, the Spanish plague and the coronavirus. He lost his two daughters, one shortly after birth, and another when he was one year old, and also his niece, at 23 years old. She survived that sadness, pancreatic cancer and colon cancer (this one, after she was one hundred years old).

Kane Tanaka was very well known in Japan, where he was a celebrity; She regularly appeared on television and other media, which They celebrated his birthday as a national holiday. And she was interviewed and honored every third Monday in September, the day on which the country celebrates Day of Respect for the Elders and older people are honored.

His goal was to reach 120 years old., in 2023. He had requested to participate in one of the sections of the Olympic torch relay, during the Tokyo 2020 Games (although in a wheelchair, due to his delicate health), but finally he did not do so, as a precaution against the coronavirus . In the last few months, before his death, he had been in and out of the hospital, due to some health complications.

Between his “secrets” to become the oldest person in the world, he recognized get enough sleep, daily walks (since 2018, through one of the hallways of the nursing home where he lived), a diet based on cooked rice, soup and fish, and the love of his family.

In the book titled In good times and badyes107 years oldwritten by one of her children, he explained that his mother had reached that age because kept busy with hobbies such as calligraphy, board games (especially Othello or reversi) and hobbies that included arithmetic calculations. Among his “whims,” outside of his healthy diet, were the chocolate, which he considered his favorite food, and the carbonated drinks.

Some of his five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren They also declared to the media, in recent years, that Tanaka did not lose faith (he was a very believer), enthusiasm or hope, and that he always looked towards the future, but I enjoyed the present. When, by granting him the Guinness Recordthey asked him what the happiest moment of his life had been, he responded: “Now.”

Maybe these are some of the secrets behind the legendary longevity of Japanese women. According to the World Bank, Japan is the oldest country in the world, and according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan, in 2022, for the first time in its history, there were 80,000 inhabitants over one hundred years old in the Japanese country. In 2020, Almost 88% of centenarians were women.

The Gerontology Research Group (GRG) has recognized 315 cases of supercentenarians (people over 110 years old) in Japan, of which the majority were women.

Experts have found that feeding It is key to longevity. At the Japanese table there is no shortage of cooked ricefish, vegetables, cereals… they prefer to eat fresh foods, and less elaborate recipes and without fatsas well as smaller portions.

The Japanese Fusa Tatsumi, who was born on April 25, 1907, now becomes, at 115 years old, the oldest person in Japan, but The oldest in the world is the French nun Sister André (born Lucile Randon, February 11, 1904 in Ales, in the Occitanie region) who has 118 years and 74 days. Curiously, the record of the person who has lived the longest in all of history It is also held by a French woman, Jeanne Calment, who died having served 122 years old.

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