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Oldest Person in the World

Oldest Person in the World

Yone Minagawa of Japan officially became, at 114, the oldest living person yesterday, with the death of her, um, predecessor.

Being recognized as the world’s oldest living person is something of an honor — at least as measured by the competititive spirit that often seems to underlie the quest for the most super of planet’s supercentenarians.

Just a couple years ago, 116-year-old Maria Esther Capovilla came suddenly out of Ecuador to swipe the title from Elizabeth Bolden of Memphis, Tenn., who until December of 2005 was thought to be the world’s oldest living person. Ms. Capovilla’s family apparently dropped papers on title-keepers at Guinness World Records, who then plucked the crown from Ms. Bolden.

Now, whether the title comes with a curse is an open question — we’re talking about folks who, judged against the averages, appear to be already living on borrowed time, after all.

But it’s true that Ms. Capovilla lasted only a little over six months, and the quick succession of title-holders after her makes one wonder if it wouldn’t be worth keeping one’s longevity a secret.

Ms. Bolden took the crown again with Ms. Capovilla’s passing, but held on to it for just three months before surrendering to the fates. That elevated Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico — for about a month and a half. He died last Wednesday.

Emma Tillman of East Hartford, Connecticut, then took up the baton. And today’s news: Ms. Tillman died on Sunday, at 114, after just four days as the oldest.

According to Guinness, that leaves 114-year-old Yone Minagawa of Fukuoka, Japan, as the new longevity leader.

The hope is that Ms. Minagawa will reverse the recent trend of ever-shorter tenures. So far, things look pretty good.

The oldest person who is currently living is Maria de Jesus dos Santos, Born on September 10, 1893. She is the only person who has survived since 1893.

As of December 29, 2008, the oldest living person in the world list contains five living supercentenarians, the oldest of whom is Portuguese woman Maria de Jesus (age 115 years & 110 days). The title of the oldest verified person in history belongs to Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment (1875–1997, 122 years and 164 days old). Of the people on this list 10 are male and 90 are female.

Oldest Living Person in the World Unofficial

She offers Islamic blessings for the week-old baby - a traditional Arabic custom.

It is a ritual that Mrs Amash has performed many times in her life.

According to Mrs Amash, she was born 120 years ago - a claim, if confirmed, that would make her the oldest person in the world.

The Guinness Book of Records currently lists 114-year-old Edna Parker of Shelbyville, Indiana, as holding the title.

But Mrs Amash - who lives in the predominantly Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa in northern Israel - views her rival as a relative youngster.

"Yes, I am the oldest person in the world," she says, her family crowding around her.

"I eat, I drink, and I take showers. I hope to keep going for another 10 years."

Mrs Amash has 10 children, 120 grandchildren, 250 great-grandchildren, and 30 great-great-grandchildren, according to relatives.

The discovery that she may be the oldest person in the world came by chance when she applied for a new Israeli identity card.

"She rises every morning around five for prayers," says one of her grandsons, Majid Amash, 46, an engineer.

"She then goes for a walk and then spends most of her day with the family. She recognises all of us."

But, he adds, her grandmother's long-term memory is fuzzy.

For her part, Mrs Amash has one piece of cautionary advice for younger generations.

"They drink too much Arak (an Arabic alcoholic drink)," she says.

In order for Mrs Amash to be officially declared the oldest person in the World she must submit documentation to the Guinness Book of Records.

A spokesman in London for the publication says the family has yet to do that.

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