World oldest person Nabi Tajima dies at 117

World oldest person Nabi Tajima is pictured in Kagoshima prefecture in Kikaicho, Kikai island, Japan.

The world’s oldest person, a 117-year-old Japanese woman, has died. Nabi Tajima died of old age in a hospital on Saturday evening in the town of Kikai in southern Japan, town official Susumu Yoshiyuki confirmed. She had been hospitalized since January.

Tajima, born on August 4, 1900, was the last known person born in the 19th century. She reportedly had more than 160 descendants, including great-great-great grandchildren. Her town of Kikai is in Kagoshima prefecture on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

She became the world’s oldest person seven months ago after the death in September of Violet Brown in Jamaica, also at the age of 117. Video shown on Japanese television showed Tajima moving her hands to the beat of music played on traditional Japanese instruments at a ceremony to mark the achievement.

The U.S.-based Gerontology Research Group says that another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, is now the world’s oldest person in its records. Miyako lives south of Tokyo in Kanagawa prefecture, and is due to turn 117 in 10 days.

Guinness World Records certified 112-year-old Masazo Nonaka of northern Japan as the world’s oldest man earlier this month, and was planning to recognize Tajima as the world’s oldest person.

Japan is known for the longevity of its people and has been home to several oldest title holders.

There are around 68,000 people aged 100 or older in the country, the government said last year.

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