On Monday, a woman from southwestern Japan known as the world’s oldest person died in a nursing home. Yone Minagawa was 114 at the time of her death. She was the mother of four sons and a daughter who supported her family by peddling flowers and vegetables. It was said that she died of old age.

Minagawa was born on January 4, 1893 and was named in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest person in January after 114-year-old Emma Faust Tillman died in the United States. Minagawa outlived all of her children except for her daughter. She had seven grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. She often took part in the weekly sing along at the nursing home and liked to eat Japanese cakes filled with sweat bean paste. Japan has one of the world’s longest average life spans which is attributed to their healthy diet. The world’s oldest man, Tomoji Tanabe, is also Japanese, born September 18, 1895 which makes him 111 years old. The number of Japanese over 100 years old has quadrupled in the last 10 years and is said to soon surpass 28,000 people. Japan is worried that these numbers are going to strain the country’s public pension system.

Now, the world’s oldest person has been named 114-year-old Edna Parker of Shelbyville, Indiana who was born April 20, 1893. However, Varvara Semennikova, a hunter and herdswoman from Arctic Russia, claims to have been born on May 1890 according to church records. This would make her 117 years old, surpassing even Minagawa as the world’s oldest person. Another person, Hryhory Nestor, a former Ukrainian shepherd, claims to be 116. Still, any of these people do no quite live up to the ages of the oldest people ever recorded. According to the Guiness Book of Records, the world’s oldest woman ever was 122 years old, and the oldest man was 120.

For related articles visit http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL148337920070814 and http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_522131.html.

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