What We Can Learn About Longevity from the World’s Oldest Person

The oldest living person in the world just turned 117. Her name is Kane Tanaka, and she’s from Fukuoka, Japan.

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According to the South China Morning Post, Tanaka wakes up at 6 a.m. every morning and enjoys studying math to this day.

To gain a better understanding of how she’s lived to be the oldest person to date, let’s learn more about her birthplace, namely – Fukuoka, Japan.

A lesson – Japan

Fukuoka is a city well-known for the longevity of its residents. Japan is one of the healthiest countries on the Earth, with its well-rounded lifestyle and clean diet. Okinawa, Japan, has even earned the title of one of the original five “Blue Zones” in the world.

So-named by Dan Buettner, a multiple New York Times bestselling author, “Blue Zones” are the places in the world where people live the healthiest and longest.

Japan’s key to longevity

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The Japanese diet is excellent for aging because it is low in calories but high in nutrients.

The Japanese style of eating – Washoku – is characterized by plenty of natural, locally sourced ingredients like vegetables, seafood, and rice. Washoku emphasizes a connection to the land. And it’s not a surprise that a lot of Japanese people are still gardening to this day. But diet isn’t the only thing about Japanese culture tied with longevity.

The themes of purpose and connection are prevalent within the Japanese culture, too. People know very well that loneliness can actually cause inflammation and potentially take years off their life, but with a “moai” at their side, that’s much less of a concern. What’s moai? Translated from Japanese, moai means  “a group of lifelong friends,” or “a social support group that forms to provide varying support from social, financial, health, or spiritual interests.” Not only that but ikigai, which translates to “reason for being,” highlights the importance of living a life of purpose (which is also linked with longevity).

While there is no sure formula for living to 100 and beyond, one thing is certain: some cultures are definitely onto something with a combination of strong relationships, healthy eating, living on purpose, and active lifestyles.