GRG News for 2019


Kane Tanaka, 116, Confirmed as World's Oldest Person

March 9, 2019; Kane Tanaka from Fukuoka, Japan, has been officially confirmed as the oldest living person at 116 years 66 days old as of 9 March 2019.

The supercentenarian was confirmed as the oldest person alive on 30 January 2019 (when she was 116 years 28 days), and was presented with her certificates for that record and oldest living woman in a ceremony at her home. Kane was born prematurely on 2 January 1903, the same year the Wright brothers became the first to achieve powered flight!

The seventh child of Kumakichi and Kuma Ota, Kane went on to marry Hideo Tanaka on 6 January 1922, four days after her 19th birthday. Despite not meeting before their wedding day (something that was not unusual in Japan at the time), Kane and Hideo went on to have four children and adopt a fifth. Hideo ran a family business called Tanaka Mochiya, which made and sold sticky rice, Zenzai (a type of Japanese sweets), and Udon noodles. After Hideo was called for military in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Kane became more involved in the family business, polishing rice and making rice cakes while looking after her children as well as Kane's mother in law. Kane's first son Nobuo also joined the military in 1943 and was held captive by the Soviet Union after the Second World War, returning to Japan in 1947.

Despite having several operations - including one for cataracts and another for colorectal cancer - Kane now lives a peaceful life at a rest home in Fukuoka. She normally wakes up at 6 a.m., and in the afternoon often studies subjects such as maths. One of Kane's favourite pastimes is a game of Othello and she's become an expert at the classic board game, often beating rest-home staff.

The official GWR report can be found here.

Kane Tanaka, 116, at the GWR recognition ceremony on March 9, 2019.
Kane Tanaka, 116


Masazo Nonaka, 113, GWR-validated World's Oldest Man, Passes away

January 25, 2019; The Gerontology Research Group informs that the World's Oldest Man, Masazo Nonaka of the northern town of Ashoro, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan, died peacefully in his sleep on January 20, 2019 at the age of 113 years, 179 days.

Masazo Nonaka was born in Kamitoshibetsu, Ashoro, Hokkaido on July 25, 1905 as the eldest son of Masujiro and Kiyo Nonaka. He had five younger siblings: two brothers and three sisters. His mother was founder of hot spring's inn "Nonaka". Young Masazo took over the family inn in 1925. He married Hatsuno Nonaka in 1931. The couple had five children.

Nonaka was the oldest living person in the Hokkaido Prefecture since the death of Teru Hatakeyama April 3, 2016 and the oldest living man in Japan since the death of Masamitsu Yoshida of Tokyo on October 29, 2016.

Following the death of 113-year old Francisco Nunez Olivera of Spain (1904-2018) on January 29, 2018, Masazo Nonaka became the World's Oldest Man. He was recognized as such by