World's oldest person celebrates 117th birthday

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

misao okawa 117yrsold

Today, March 5 is the birthday of the world's oldest living person. Japan's Misao Okawa was born on March 5, 1898, and today, she celebrates her 117th birthday. She was surrounded by her family for this week's special birthday festivities, which were televised in Japan. Her 117th birthday celebration took place at a nursing home in Osaka, western Japan.

The year Misao Okawa was born, Queen Victoria was on the British throne and the Spanish-American war was in its infancy. She married in 1919. Her husband, Yukio, died in 1931. Their marriage produced two daughters and a son, and Okawa has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

At a televised event on Wednesday, a day before her birthday, she disappointed any who hoped she would reveal the secret to a long life. “Well, I wonder about that too,” she said.

mackerel sushiOn her 116th birthday, Okawa attributed her longevity to plenty of sleep and a varied diet. While she has spoken of her love of mackerel sushi, which she eats at least once a month, Okawa says she is not particularly fussy when it comes to food.

Family and friends say she is in remarkably good health, apart from slight trouble with her hearing.

Okawa became the world’s oldest person in June 2013 following the death at 116 of fellow Japanese Jiroemon Kimura.

Japan is home to more than 58,000 people aged 100 or over, according to government figures, 87% of whom are women. The country’s elderly population is expected to soar in the coming decades. About a quarter of its 127 million people are 65 or over, and the proportion is expected to grow to about 40% by the middle of the century.

Experts attribute Japan’s longevity statistics to a traditional low-fat diet, affordable healthcare and generous pensions. In 2013, life expectancy for Japanese women was 86.6 years, the highest in the world, and for men it was 80.2 years, the fourth highest, according to the health ministry.

Source: The Guardian

Photo Credit: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty

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