Page 3 Profile: Misao Okawa, oap

 

Oliver Duggan
Wednesday 12 June 2013 20:52
Comments
Misao Okawa
Misao Okawa

She’s the world’s oldest woman?

Actually, she became the world’s oldest person in the world yesterday after the former record holder, Jiroemon Kimura, died at the age of 116.

Kimura, the oldest man to have ever lived, died of natural causes to make way for Misao Okawa, who assumed the title aged 115 years and 99 days. Japanese officials confirmed that Kimura died at hospital in his hometown of Kyotango while receiving treatment for pneumonia.

His death leaves Ms Okawa as one of less than a dozen people alive who were born in the 1890s. She was only a toddler at the end of the 19th century, but has since lived through four Japanese emperors and the administrations of 61 prime ministers.

How has she done it?

The late record holder reportedly put his longevity down to waking early, eating small amounts, reading the newspaper and watching parliamentary debates on television, but his female successor has said she’s much less fussy.

Asked for her secret at a Guinness Book of Records event last year, she said it was to “watch out for one’s health,” before nodding off as she was given the award for the world oldest woman. Her favourite food, a potent pickled mackerel, may also have something to do with it.

And they are both Japanese?

Before Kimura, the world’s oldest person was an Italian-American who lived in Iowa. But it is Japan that consistently produces the longest-living people on the planet. According to official estimates, Ms Okawa is one of more than 51,000 centenarians in the country, 87 per cent of whom are women.

Japan’s average life expectancy when she was born was around 44 years; it now stands at 83. Though her success may also come down to simple genetics; Ms Okawa also has two living children, both of which are themselves over 90.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in