On Sunday, July 22, the world's oldest living person, Chiyo Miyako, died.
Miyako lived in Japan. She was 117 years old.
The world's oldest person, a 117-year-old Japanese woman, has died.— China Daily (@China Daily) 1532693700.0
Miyako, born May 22, 1901, has only been the world's oldest living woman in Japan since April 2015 That's because the previous oldest living person was also a Japanese woman.
The world's previous oldest person, Misao Okawa, passed away April 1, 2015. Born March 5, 1898, Okawa was the last living soul who saw the 19th century.
Though Okawa was only a toddler when the century turned from the 19th to the 20th on January 1, 1900.
RIP Misao Okawa. You will be missed and you were an amazing woman and great inspiration. 1898-2015. http://t.co/ZggUa5gSqY— Kai 🌺 (@Kai 🌺) 1427952844.0
Miyako's family released a statement through Guinness World Records, saying their matriarch was a "patient, kind and chatty 'goddess' who brought joy to those around her."
Chiyo loved eating Japanese foods such as sushi and eel and enjoyed practicing calligraphy.
@GWR What a smile! Her achievement wasn't simply living to be 117 years old but doing so with a smile. Our 105 y… https://t.co/ZUPWQlzCsm— SWhite (@SWhite) 1532688977.0
Though the world's oldest man remains fellow countryman Masazo Nonaka, 113, Guinness has yet to determine Miyako's successor as Japan's and possibly the world's oldest woman and possibly person.
Kane Tanaka, born January 2, 1903, is tentatively being cited as the new world's oldest: person, woman, Japanese person and Japanese woman. Tanaka is reported to be 115 years and 208 days old.
We're thrilled to wish Masazo Nonaka a very happy 113th birthday 😄🎂 https://t.co/QbCfffKfhm— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GuinnessWorldRecords) 1532550989.0
The world's oldest person can often be found in Japan, which is considered a "super-aged" nation. Japan is a country where over 20% of the residents are over 65 years old.
In fact, 69,000 people in the country are over 100.
Did you know... Japan is considered a super-aged nation? As of February 2018, there were 69,000 people over 100 yea… https://t.co/eRtfbzdaOv— Stephen Urbanik (@Stephen Urbanik) 1532760972.0
1,000 of these centenarians reside in Okinawa alone, which is considered one of the world's five "blue zones."
Blue zones are where people's naturally healthy behaviors cause increased longevity.
The other blue zones are:
- Ikaria, Greece
- Ogliastra Region, Sardinia
- Loma Linda, California
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Centenarians in Blue Zones regions have enjoyed tea all their lives: in Okinawa, Japan, they drink green tea with t… https://t.co/dXWFEknk77— Blue Zones (@Blue Zones) 1529435925.0
But a longer-living populace isn't unique to Japan—around the world, the average death age is increasing. The fact people are living longer—combined with fewer people having children and those who do have children having fewer—is already beginning to put strain on national economies.
A 2014 report by Moody's Investors Service predicts there will be 13 super-aged countries by 2020. Remember, that's a population where over 20% of the people are older than 65.
Australia is predicted to become a ‘super-aged’ country, where one in five people is 65yo or over, by 2056. Japan a… https://t.co/WwoKOTuIBb— Dr Kay Patterson (@Dr Kay Patterson) 1532314262.0
John Roland Beard, director of the Department of Aging and Life Course at the World Health Organization, believes our increased age as a species doesn't have to be a disaster. If we plan for it properly, living longer could mean living better.
"It's important to realize that older populations present challenges but also opportunities. We need to shift away from the outdated stereotype that people retire and that's that, to ensuring that older people can continue to participate in society."
Excellent summary of @geronsociety's report on work in super-aged countries. https://t.co/KHjHDhedzU— Retirement Research (@Retirement Research) 1525968394.0
"We need to shift away from the outdated stereotype that people retire and that's that, to ensuring that older peop… https://t.co/T07PV8E0yl— St. John's (@St. John's) 1529188504.0
Makoto Suzuki, an 84-year-old practicing cardiologist who has made elderly contribution to society his main focus, agrees:
"We need longer-living, healthier, happier old people."
Chiyo Miyako (right) here with her family. She died on Sunday, aged 117 and was the oldest person living when she p… https://t.co/HDcY9jWMnP— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GuinnessWorldRecords) 1532653560.0
Rest in peace, Chiyo Miyako.