Guinness World Records is saddened to learn of the passing of Misao Okawa, holder of the world record titles for Oldest living person and Oldest living woman.

Born on 5th March 1898 in Tenma, Japan, Misao had held both titles for almost three years.

Today’s news comes just one month after she reached her 117th birthday – celebrations for which were televised across Japan.

She became the oldest living woman at the age of 114 years and 359 days on 27 February 2013 succeeding Koto Okubo –also from Japan – who had passed away at the age 115 years 19 days. 

She went on to become oldest person living at the age 115 years, 99 days after former record holder Jiroemon Kimura (Japan) passed away June 12th 2013.  

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. 

Misao Okawa portrait

After the passing of her husband in June 1931, she moved back to Osaka where she still lived until her final days, surrounded by her children, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Asked for the secret of her longevity at her birthday party last month, she joked, "I wonder about that too!"  

She had previously said that the key to a long life was to eat eating sushi and get at least eight hours sleep a night.

Oldest Woman _article EDIT

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

Misao 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.

Erika Ogawa, vice president of Guinness World Records Japan, said: “We are very sad to hear of her passing. I had the pleasure of meeting her back in February 2013 - she was a charming cheerful woman who made people laugh and joke”. 

“She had appreciation for those that had come to interview her that that day, saying “you must be tired” to the journalists who were visiting.

“It was an honour to meet her and celebrate her achievement.”

Guinness World Records is now investigating potential successors for the title for the oldest woman living. 

Further information will be announced upon confirmation of the next record holder.

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