On 28 March 2024, Mrs. Nobu Kōno from Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, celebrated her 113th birthday. On 30 March, Yumi Yamamoto, President of LongeviQuest Japan, visited Mrs. Kōno at her special nursing home in Tsurumi Ward to mark the occasion. Mrs. Kōno’s three children, one great-granddaughter, and two great-great-grandchildren also joined in the celebration.

When Yamamoto whispered “Happy birthday, Kōno-san” into Mrs. Kōno’s ear, she smiled and replied, “Thank you.” Later, with her 5-month-old great-great-granddaughter on her lap, Mrs. Kōno beamed with joy as she called the baby by her name.

Mrs. Kōno was born on 28 March 1911, in Nōba, Higashiibaraki District (now Omitama City), Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. She was the fifth of nine children.

After completing elementary school, she trained as a babysitter and housekeeper at a mansion in Tokyo. She got married at the age of 21 and was blessed with five children.

During the war, she faced numerous hardships, such as growing vegetables like sweet potatoes on the riverbed of the Tsurumi River due to severe food shortages. When evacuated to Yamanashi, she supported her family by selling charcoal, trekking five hours to Kofu across Ubaguchi Pass in the middle of the night. After returning to Yokohama following World War II, she taught Japanese-style sewing techniques to local women and sewed Jizo statue aprons to donate. She lived independently until she was 92 years old and, until the age of 95, enjoyed traveling with members of a mutual aid society called “Kurashi no Tomo”.

Her children provided insights into the factors contributing to her longevity:

1. Eating well
2. Working hard
3. Being sociable and active
4. Sunbathing

She was not picky and enjoyed alcohol since her youth. Until she reached 105 years old, she and her son enjoyed drinking alcohol every evening with dinner, often accompanied by her favorite sashimi.

Even at the age of 113, she retains the ability to handle chopsticks and bowls and consumes a wide variety of foods. During her time at home, younger neighborhood friends often gathered for lively tea parties, contributing to her mental and physical well-being. Her son mentioned that the house she lived in was very sunny, and she believed that the sun exposure she received during the day contributed to her strength.

Her eldest son, Yutaka, who shared insights into her longevity, is also a remarkably energetic elderly individual. Despite being 91 years old, he maintains robust health, possessing strong legs akin to his mother’s, and still rides his bicycle to various destinations daily. On this occasion, he pedaled from his residence in Kanagawa Ward, approximately 10 kilometers away, to the nursing home in Tsurumi Ward to visit her.

At the age of 113, Mrs. Kōno is blessed with four children, four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

We extend our wishes for continued health and happiness to Mrs. Kōno and her family. Additionally, we express our gratitude to the family and nursing home for graciously welcoming this visit.