Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Japanese woman oldest in world

The world's oldest woman - 114-year-old Misao Okawa, from Japan - poses with her certificate from Guinness World Records (AP)

A 114-year-old Japanese woman, the daughter of a kimono maker, has been formally recognised as the world's oldest woman.

Misao Okawa said she was "very happy" to receive the recognition and a certificate from Guinness World Records.

After enjoying her favourite meal, mackerel sushi, Mrs Okawa nodded off as she sat in her wheelchair, her three-month-old great-grandson, Hibiki Okawa, at her side.

After her nap, she said the secret of longevity was to "watch out for one's health".

The recognition by Guinness World Records was an early birthday gift for Mrs Okawa, who will mark her 115th birthday next week. According to the Gerontology Research Institute, which verifies age information for Guinness, she was born March 5 1898.

Mrs Okawa lives in a nursing home in Osaka. The manager there, Tomohito Okada, said Mrs Okawa eats whatever she likes.

The world's oldest living person as recognised by Guinness - 115-year-old Jiroemon Kimura - also lives in Japan.

Japan has the most centenarians in the world, with more than 51,000, according to the government. More than 87% of them are women.

Mrs Okawa was married in 1919 to her husband Yukio and had three children - two daughters and a son. She now has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Mrs Okawa's 90-year-old son, Hiroshi, said he doubted he would manage to match his mother's longevity. "On my father's side, there are some who lived long and some who don't - like my father who died at 36 - so I doubt I'll live as long," he said.

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