Japanese woman Nabi Tajima, who is the last surviving child of the 19th century, has become the 3rd oldest person in recorded human history, researchers said on Tuesday as she reached 117 years and 248 days.
Tajima was born in a village on the Japanese island of Kikaijima on August 4, 1900. It was a time when Emperor Meiji ruled Japan as the nation rose from an isolationist feudal state to become a world power, and well before both world wars.
Research and verification by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) shows that Tajima is the world’s oldest living person. She reached 117 years and 248 days on Tuesday, making her the third oldest person in recorded human history, surpassing Lucy Hannah from the U.S.
It marks the first time since December 1999 that someone has been alive who has reached or surpassed Tajima’s age. Other people have claimed to be older, but those claims have never been verified with official documentation and other supporting evidence.
Tajima, who still lives on Kikaijima island, has 9 children and more than 160 descendants, including great-great-great-grandchildren, according to the Gerontology Research Group. She has claimed that her secret to longevity is eating delicious things and sleeping well, but she also enjoys hand-dancing to music when the shamisen is played.
It will take Tajima until November 2019 to surpass the age of Sarah Knauss, who died in Pennsylvania in 1999 at the age of 119 years and 97 days. The oldest undisputed person to have ever lived was Jeanne Calment who died in France in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days.
Jiroemon Kimura, who died in Japan in June 2013 at the age of 116 years and 54 days, was the world’s oldest verified male in recorded history, according to Guinness World Records. The current oldest living man is 112-year-old Masazou Nonaka, who is also from Japan.