Guinness World Records congratulates Japan's Misao Okawa, the world's oldest living person, who today celebrates her 116 th birthday.

Born on 5 th March 1898 in Tenma, Osaka, Misao-san says the key to a long life is eating sushi and getting at least eight hours sleep a night.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph earlier this week, she told the paper: ‘Eat and sleep and you will live a long time. You have to learn to relax.’

Mrs Okawa eats three large meals a day and makes sure that she sleeps eight hours a night,’ Tomohito Okada, the head of the Kurenai retirement home where she lives, told the newspaper.


He added: ‘She insists that her favourite meal is sushi, particularly mackerel on vinegar-steamed rice, and she has it at least once every month.’

Mrs Okawa took the title of world’s oldest living person in June last year following the death of Jiroemon Kimura - also from Japan – who passed away at the age of 116.

Misao-san married in 1919; her husband, Yukio, ran his own business in Kobe and together they had three children - two daughters and a son. After the passing of her husband in June 1931, she moved back to Osaka where she still resides, and remains in good health surrounded by her children, 4 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren (one of whom, Hibiki, is pictured with Misao-san and her 90-year old son Hiroshi, above during her certificate presentation for being the world's oldest living woman last year).

Oldest Woman _article EDIT

Misao Okawa with Guinness World Records Country Manager for Japan, Erika Ogawa

As well holding the Guinness World Records title for oldest living person, Misao Okawa also belongs to an elite group - The supercentenarians. To qualify for membership to this exclusive club, there is just one criterion: being at least 110 years old. Reaching this age is an exceptional achievement, especially given the average life span for women in Japan is just under 85.9 years; outliving the national average by nearly 30 years is an remarkable feat.

Although America is the country with the most centenarians (people aged 100 or over) in the world, there are an estimated 51,376 of them in Japan, with a staggering 44,842 of those being women.

Misao has lived across three centuries, which have seen immense social and technological advances including the advent of motor vehicles, flight, mobile telephones, social networking sites and 6 UK Monarchs, 4 Emperors of Japan and 20 US Presidents.

The oldest person ever to have lived is also female, Jeanne Calment of France, who lived to 122 years and 164 days.