Mrs Okawa was born in Osaka, Japan on March 5 1898, and took the title of the world’s oldest person in 2013, when her incredible longevity was recognized by Guinness World Records. Mrs Okawa died of heart failure on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
World’s oldest person in Japan sadly dies
Her grandson and nursing home workers were present as Mrs Okawa stopped breathing yesterday. “She went so peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep,” said Tomohiro Okada, a nursing home worker. “We miss her a lot.”
Around 10 days ago, Mrs Okawa lost her appetite. Up until that point she was known for enjoying a daily cup of coffee and her favorite foods, including ramen. At her birthday celebration a few weeks ago, Mrs Okawa claimed that her life seemed short, even though she has lived through so much. The event was broadcast live on national television.
Although Mrs Okawa maintains that her life was short, she managed to live in three different centuries. Politicians and world leaders came and went, but Mrs Okawa remained. During her life there were four emperors of Japan, 6 British monarchs and 20 U.S. Presidents.
Mrs Okawa attributed her longevity to sleeping at least 8 hours per night and eating sushi, and she claimed to have a particular appetite for mackerel on vinegar-steamed rice.
An eventful life
Mrs Okawa married in 1919, and had two daughters and a son with her husband Yukio, who died in 1931. They lived in Kobe, Japan, where he ran a business, but she moved back to Osaka when he died. She is survived by 4 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
The Guinness World Records has started to investigate who would replace Mrs Okawa as the world’s oldest person. The title of the oldest person in Japan now belongs to a 115-year-old woman, according to the Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The woman was born on March 15, 1900, but the ministry did not identify her.
Extreme longevity has always captured the popular imagination. The title for the oldest person who ever lived belongs to Jeanne Calment of France, who was 122 years and 164 days old when she died in August 1997. Japan has a relatively long average life expectancy of 83.1 years, while those born in the U.S. can expect to live an average of 78.74 years.