Yone Minagawa of Japan officially became, at 114, the oldest living person yesterday, with the death of her, um, predecessor.
Being recognized as the world’s oldest living person is something of an honor — at least as measured by the competititive spirit that often seems to underlie the quest for the most super of planet’s supercentenarians.
Just a couple years ago, 116-year-old Maria Esther Capovilla came suddenly out of Ecuador to swipe the title from Elizabeth Bolden of Memphis, Tenn., who until December of 2005 was thought to be the world’s oldest living person. Ms. Capovilla’s family apparently dropped papers on title-keepers at Guinness World Records, who then plucked the crown from Ms. Bolden.
Now, whether the title comes with a curse is an open question — we’re talking about folks who, judged against the averages, appear to be already living on borrowed time, after all.
But it’s true that Ms. Capovilla lasted only a little over six months, and the quick succession of title-holders after her makes one wonder if it wouldn’t be worth keeping one’s longevity a secret.
Ms. Bolden took the crown again with Ms. Capovilla’s passing, but held on to it for just three months before surrendering to the fates. That elevated Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico — for about a month and a half. He died last Wednesday.
Emma Tillman of East Hartford, Connecticut, then took up the baton. And today’s news: Ms. Tillman died on Sunday, at 114, after just four days as the oldest.
According to Guinness, that leaves 114-year-old Yone Minagawa of Fukuoka, Japan, as the new longevity leader.
The hope is that Ms. Minagawa will reverse the recent trend of ever-shorter tenures. So far, things look pretty good.
The oldest person who is currently living is Maria de Jesus dos Santos, Born on September 10, 1893. She is the only person who has survived since 1893.
As of December 29, 2008, the oldest living person in the world list contains five living supercentenarians, the oldest of whom is Portuguese woman Maria de Jesus (age 115 years & 110 days). The title of the oldest verified person in history belongs to Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment (1875–1997, 122 years and 164 days old). Of the people on this list 10 are male and 90 are female.
Oldest Living Person in the World UnofficialShe offers Islamic blessings for the week-old baby - a traditional Arabic custom.
It is a ritual that Mrs Amash has performed many times in her life.
According to Mrs Amash, she was born 120 years ago - a claim, if confirmed, that would make her the oldest person in the world.
The Guinness Book of Records currently lists 114-year-old Edna Parker of Shelbyville, Indiana, as holding the title.
But Mrs Amash - who lives in the predominantly Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa in northern Israel - views her rival as a relative youngster.
"Yes, I am the oldest person in the world," she says, her family crowding around her.
"I eat, I drink, and I take showers. I hope to keep going for another 10 years."
Mrs Amash has 10 children, 120 grandchildren, 250 great-grandchildren, and 30 great-great-grandchildren, according to relatives.
The discovery that she may be the oldest person in the world came by chance when she applied for a new Israeli identity card.
"She rises every morning around five for prayers," says one of her grandsons, Majid Amash, 46, an engineer.
"She then goes for a walk and then spends most of her day with the family. She recognises all of us."
But, he adds, her grandmother's long-term memory is fuzzy.
For her part, Mrs Amash has one piece of cautionary advice for younger generations.
"They drink too much Arak (an Arabic alcoholic drink)," she says.
In order for Mrs Amash to be officially declared the oldest person in the World she must submit documentation to the Guinness Book of Records.
A spokesman in London for the publication says the family has yet to do that.
Oldest Living Man in the World UnofficiallyAt age 135, the world's oldest person might well be a citizen of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The identity card of Nasir Al Hazry, a resident of Al Ain in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, shows his age as 135, the Khaleej Times newspaper reported.
Al Hazry's family came to know about it only recently when the Al Ain office of the UAE's department of naturalisation and residency officially mentioned his age in the identity card. His exact date of birth has, however, not been revealed, the Khaleej Times said.
"I managed to keep good health because I always believe in eating freshly cooked food," the newspaper quoted Al Hazry as saying from Kuwait, where he is currently on a holiday.
"I look much younger than my age, as I am still practising the Bedouin lifestyle such as waking up early, drinking camel milk and eating dates daily," he added. Bedouin are Arab nomads, who live by rearing livestock in deserts.
Edna - Oldest Living Woman in the World diesEdna Scott Parker (April 20, 1893 – November 26, 2008) was an American supercentenarian and, until her death, was recognized as the oldest person in the world following the death of Yone Minagawa of Japan on August 13, 2007.
She assumed the title at age 114 years, 115 days. Parker became Indiana's oldest living person on April 7, 2005 (age 111 years, 352 days) (following the death of then almost-112-year-old Minnie Kearby, who was just six days older at the time) and the state's all-time recordholder on January 19, 2007 (age 113 years, 274 days), surpassing Mary Parr. She became the oldest living American on February 14, 2007 (age 113 years, 300 days), following the death of then fellow 113-year-old Corinne Dixon Taylor of Washington, D.C.
At the time of her death, Parker was listed as one of the 15 longest lived people ever.
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