Nabi Tajimi, Oldest Person in the World, Dies at 117

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By Max Felsenstein

The oldest person in the world, Nabi Tajima, passed away on Saturday in Akari, Japan at the age of 117. She was the last known person born in the 19th century as she was born on Aug. 4, 1900.

Tajima had nine children including seven sons and two daughters, and according to the Associated Press, she had more than 160 descendants.

She became the oldest person in the world after the passing of 117-year old Violet Brown in Jamaica, who passed away in September 2017.

According to Kyodo News, Tajima’s grandson said, “She passed away as if falling asleep. As she had been a hard worker, I want to tell her ‘rest well.’”

The old saying, “You make memories that will last a lifetime,” epitomizes Tajima’s life; she lived through an entire century, she experienced World War II at 45-years old, the 9/11 tragedy at 101-years old, lived in three different centuries but watched all of her children blossom into adulthood.

According to The Washington Post, her grandchildren said Tajima’s secret to longevity was “eating delicious things and sleeping well.”

Drew University students weighed in on the importance of living a happy and healthy lifestyle. “Something that’s been very important to me is realizing you have to be happy. Although taking care of other people will help you to be happy, you have to take care of yourself as well,” Brynne Growney (’21) said. “Being happy with who you are and who you’re surrounded by is when I believe someone has truly found the meaning of life.”

“I know that eating and sleeping makes me happy, I really like food,” Emily O’Connor (’20) said. “But in reality, doing what you love and not taking yourself so seriously all the time is important.”

“Unfortunately living a long life is not promised. Regardless of how you rationalize this, the only certainty guaranteed is up to us,” Anthony Tagliaferro (’20) said. “We can guarantee ourselves a happy life by the way we choose to actively exist. If you actively focus on all that’s good in this life, it’s hard for dark distractions to budge their way into our conscious.”

The oldest person in the world is now 116-year-old, Chiyo Miyako, also of Japanese descent, born on May 2, 1901.

Photo Courtesy of The Washington Post

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