In the year in which Misao Okawa was born in Osaka, Queen Victoria was still on the British throne, the Spanish American War was raging and Horatio Kitchener triumphed in the Battle of Omdurman.
Already recognised as the oldest person in the world, Okawa will on March 5 reach the remarkable milestone of 116 – and attributes her longevity to eating well and sleeping at least eight hours every night, with the occasional nap thrown in for good measure.
“Eat and sleep and you will live a long time,” she said in a message to The Telegraph. “You have to learn to relax.”
The daughter of a kimono-maker from Japan’s second city, Mrs Okawa assumed the title of the oldest person in the world after the death of 116-year-old Jireomon Kimura in June 2013.
Experts say it is no coincidence that both record-holders are from Japan, which was home to 54,397 centenarians on the last Respect for the Aged national holiday in September – including 282 super-centenarians, who have achieved the ripe old age of 110.
“Mrs. Okawa eats three large meals a day and makes sure that she sleeps eight hours a night,” said Tomohito Okada, the head of the Kurenai retirement home where she has lived for the last 18 years.
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