People

Published: Tuesday March 25, 2014 MYT 4:50:00 PM
Updated: Monday April 14, 2014 MYT 8:39:09 PM

World's oldest person turns 116, credits longevity to sashimi

Misao Okawa, a Japanese woman believed to be the world’s oldest person, celebrated turning 116 by tucking into a white cake decorated with strawberries and candles.

Misao Okawa was born in 1898, the year that the US annexed the Hawaiian islands, a new drink named Pepsi-Cola was launched and the USS Maine exploded in Havana harbour.

Accepting bouquets from well-wishers at a small party in the nursing home where she lives in the western city of Osaka, Okawa sat by her birthday cake, decorated with “116” in candles, and later pronounced it as “delicious.”

She wore a pink kimono patterned with cherry blossoms and a blue cardigan for the event. Asked if she was happy to have lived so long, she replied, according to the Asahi Shimbun daily: “Kind of.”

Misao Okawa, the world's oldest woman, poses for a photo next to her birthday cake as she celebrates her 116th birthday in Osaka, western Japan. Reuters/Kyodo.

Born the daughter of a fabric merchant in Osaka in 1898, on the same day as Chinese revolutionary leader Zhou Enlai, Okawa married in 1919. Two of her three children are still alive, both of them in their 90s.

She is known for her strong appetite and one of her favourite foods is sashimi, or raw fish. In the past six months she has gained 4kg, Japanese media said. She credits a healthy appetite and getting plenty of rest for her longevity.

Okawa has been dubbed the world’s oldest living person since the June 2013 death of 116-year-old Jiroemon Kimura, also Japanese. She is the tenth person verified to have reached 116 and the third oldest Japanese person ever.

Japan is one of the world’s most long-lived nations, with nearly 54,400 centenarians as of September 2013, according to the health ministry. – Reuters

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Lifestyle, world s oldest, Misao Okawa, Japan, aging, 116, birthday

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