A Full Life: These People Set Guinness Records For Longevity

Tane Ikai Was One of the Last Two People Born in the 1870s (116 Years Old) Born in Aichi, Japan, in 1879, Tane Ikai held a… Aisha Abdullah - February 24, 2023
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Tane Ikai Was One of the Last Two People Born in the 1870s (116 Years Old)

Born in Aichi, Japan, in 1879, Tane Ikai held a few titles during her long life. She was the oldest woman ever from Asia until Misao Okawa surpassed her. She was also the first Asian person in recorded history to reach the age of 116 years old. Five other people, all from Japan, would follow her in this feat over the next two decades. Along with Jeanne Calment, Ikai was one of the last two people born in the 1870s to die. Ikai married at 20 but separated from her husband 18 years later. They had four children, all of whom she outlived. Ikai was active, enjoyed crafts, and subsisted on a simple diet of porridge. She suffered a stroke at 99, then a second 10 years later. Ikai died of kidney failure at 116 years and 175 days.

Nicolas Parent

Staying Single and Childfree May Have Kept Jeanne Bot Young (116 Years Old)

The youngest of the three French women among the world’s 20 oldest people, Jeanne Bot lived to an impressive 116 years and 128 days. Born in Mont-Louis, France, in 1905, Bot worked for five decades as a bookkeeper in a car garage. There aren’t many interviews with Bot, but some have credited her longevity to the fact that she never married or had kids. She lived a quiet, simple life and remained mostly independent until around 113. Her health began to decline in her later years before she passed away in 2021. According to her nephew, she was grateful to have reached 100 years old and considered every year beyond that to be a bonus.

Dave Darnell / The Commercial Appeal

At Her Death, Elizabeth Bolden Had 562 Living Descendants (116 Years Old)

Known as Mamma Lizzie to her many descendants, Elizabeth Bolden was born in Tenessee in 1890 to former slaves. She and her husband raised seven children on their farm near Memphis. Bolden lived to see six generations of her descendants and, at her death in 2006, had 562 living descendants, including 75 great-great-great-great-grandchildren. Bolden, along with Sarah Knauss, Susannah Mushatt Jones, and Gertrude Weaver, is one of the longest-living Americans in history. She held the title of the world’s oldest person until her death at 116 years and 118 days. According to her surviving family, Bolden had a serious sweet tooth and lived a full life.

August Chronicle

As a Young Teacher, Besse Cooper Fought for Women’s Right to Vote (116 Years Old)

Growing up in Sullivan County, Tennessee, Besse Cooper was always a dedicated student and avid reader. After graduating high school, she joined the suffragette movement, fighting for women’s right to vote. During this time, she also began working as a teacher and met her husband in Georgia. The two had four children. After her husband’s death in 1963, Cooper never remarried and remained a widow for nearly 50 years until her death in 2012. She lived to 116 years and 100 days and had perhaps the most unique explanation for her longevity. In an interview with Guinness World Records, Cooper said that her key to long life was, “I mind my own business.” One of Cooper’s launched a charity in her name the year after her death to help other supercentenarians.


Jiroemon Kimura Is the Longest Living Man in History (116 Years Old)

You’ve probably noticed that this list is very female-dominated. That’s because around 95 percent of supercentenarians are women. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t men who also live extraordinarily long lives. For example, Jiroemon Kimura was the oldest man ever. Although he was more than six years younger than the oldest woman, Jeanne Calment, he is still the 22nd oldest person in history. Kimura was also the only man in history to reach the age of 116, the last surviving man born in the 19th century, and was likely the last surviving World War I veteran. Born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1897, Kimura was a bright student who served in the Imperial Japanese Army for four years and worked as a postmaster until he retired at 65. He and his wife were married for 58 years and had 8 children. Kimura remained active and helped work the family farm until his 90s.

Guinness World Records

Juan Vicente Perez Mora Is the Oldest Living Man (113 Years Old & Counting)

Juan Vicente Pérez Mora has been the oldest living man for a little over a year. At 113, the Venezuelan man remains in remarkably good health, according to his family and doctor. Born in 1909, Pérez Mora grew up on a farm in San José de Bolívar. He married his wife in 1938, and the two shared nearly 60 years together. The couple had 11 children, 41 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great-grandchildren. Pérez Mora swears by sugarcane hooch (a strong liquor made from sugarcane) as the key to his longevity. The supercentenarian says he has a glass every day. Friends and family attribute his long life to his diet and tranquil nature.


Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

Category: Validated supercentenarians | Gerontology Wiki

The oldest people in the world – Lucile Randon and 14 other supercentenarians

Oldest People Ever Confirmed To Live

The world’s oldest people and their secrets to a long life

The World’s Longest Lived

The Top 100 Verified Oldest People and What We Can Learn From Them

The 12 Oldest Persons to Ever Live