Misao Okawa, the world’s oldest person, celebrated her 116th birthday in Osaka, Japan on Wednesday. She was born on March 5, 1898, the year when new soft drink Pepsi-Cola was launched, Queen Victoria was still on the British throne, the Philippines declared independence and the USS Maine exploded in Havana. Daughter of a fabric merchant, Misao Okawa is among only five people alive, confirmed to have been born in the 19th century. Surprisingly, all five of them are women.
Okawa was crowned as the world’s oldest person last year
Okawa was named the world’s oldest person after Jireomon Kimura passed away in June 2013 at the age of 116. Kimura was also Japanese. Misao Okawa has three children, and two of them are still alive. They both are in their 90s. Okawa told The Telegraph that the happiest moment of her long life was when she married her husband Yukic Okawa in 1919. Yukic died 12 years later in 1931. Misao Okawa is blessed with four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
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Misao Okawa celebrated her 116th birthday by tucking into a white cake, and accepting a bouquet from well-wishers. She lives in a nursing home in the western city of Osaka, according to Reuters. Okawa is known for a healthy appetite. Her favorite food is sashimi, or raw fish. She said she has gained 8.8 pounds over the past six months. Okawa said a varied and healthy diet, and plenty of sleep are the secrets to a long life.
Japan home to 54,397 centenarians
Besides being the world’s oldest person alive, Misao Okawa is only 10th person verified to have reached 116 years of age. Okawa is also the third oldest Japanese person in the documented history. No surprise she is from Japan. It is one of the world’s most long-lived nations. According to Japanese health ministry, there are 54,397 centenarians in the country as of September 2013. That includes 282 people who have surpassed the age of 110, and are called “super-centenarians.” Moreover, about 87% of all Japanese centenarians are women.