Misao Okawa turns 117

MISAO OKAWA has today become only the fifth human being to celebrate their 117th birthday.

Okawa-san has been the world's most senior citizen since 12th June 2013. (BBC)

Okawa-san has been the world’s most senior citizen since 12th June 2013. (BBC)

Okawa-san, the oldest Asian person ever, was born in Tenma (now Kita-ku), Osaka, Japan on 5th March 1898. She became the oldest living woman following the death of compatriot Koto Okubo on 12th January 2013, and took the title of oldest living person on 12th June 2013 with the death of another compatriot, Jiroemon Kimura – the oldest man ever.

On 28th August last year Okawa-san took the titles of oldest Japanese and oldest Asian person ever from Tane Ikai who died in 1995.

Born the fourth daughter of a kimono-maker, Okawa-san married Yukio Okawa in 1919 and moved to Kobe. The couple had three children (two daughters and a son), two of whom (her son Hiroshi and daughter Shizuyo) are now in their 90s. She has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

After she was widowed in June 1931 (almost 84 years ago) Okawa-san returned to Osaka and currently resides in the Kurenai retirement home in the Higashisumiyoshi-ku ward of Japan’s second city.

Last year Okawa-san told The Telegraph the key to longevity is to: “Eat and sleep and you will live a long time. You have to learn to relax.

During her lifetime Okawa-san has seen: four Japanese Emperors, six English monarchs, 11 popes, 20 U.S. presidents, 22 U.K. prime ministers and 60 Japanese prime ministers. She has also been alive for all but the very first modern Olympic Games.

At time of publication there are, including Okawa-san, only 10 people (all women) still alive who were born in the 19th Century (pre-1901). They are:

Rank

Name

Birth Date

Age as of 5th March 2015

Residence

1

Misao Okawa

5th March 1898

117 years, 0 days

Japan

2

Gertrude Weaver

4th July 1898

116 years, 244 days

America

3

Jeralean Talley

23rd May 1899

 115 years, 286 days

America

4

Susannah Jones

6th July 1899

 115 years, 242 days

America

5

Emma Morano

29th November 1899

 115 years, 96 days

Italy

6

Violet Brown

10th March 1900

 114 years, 360 days

Jamaica1

7

Antonia Gerena Rivera

19th May 1900

 114 years, 290 days

America2

8

Nabi Tajima

4th August 1900

 114 years, 213 days

Japan

9

Blanche Cobb

8th September 1900

 114 years, 178 days

America

10

Goldie Steinberg

30th October 1900

 114 years, 126 days

America3

  1. Jamaica was a British colony when Brown was born.
  2. Gerena Rivera was born in Puerto Rico.
  3. Steinberg was born in modern-day Moldova, then part of the Russian Empire.

The four women who have lived longer than Okawa-san are:

Rank

Name

Life Span

Nationality

Notes

1

Jeanne Calment

122 years, 164 days

French

Oldest person ever

2

Sarah Knauss

119 years, 97 days

American

Oldest person to claim title of ‘oldest person’

3

Lucy Hannah

117 years, 248 days

American

Oldest African-American

4

Marie-Louise Meilleur

117 years, 230 days

Canadian

Inherited oldest person title from Calment.

A person who lives to be 110 years old is known as a ‘super-centenarian’. Roughly one in 1,000 centenarians live to be 110.

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About Alex Crouch 92

I'm a lifelong Formula One fan who also enjoys classic rock/heavy metal music.
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