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BIOGRAPHY

Fuji Takashima was born in the village of Kotsubo (Zushi City), Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, on 15 August 1911. She was the eldest daughter and the third child among seven siblings in a family that ran a clothing store.

In July 1923, at the age of 12, she lost her mother to the widespread typhoid fever of the time. After her mother died, she cared for her youngest brother, who was two years old at the time, while her other siblings were either hospitalized or placed in relatives’ homes. Then, at 11:58 a.m. on 1 September of the same year, a violent tremor struck as the Great Kantō Earthquake shook the land. In that moment, she was feeding her youngest brother, Suekichi, upon her return from elementary school. Seated on displaced shutters, Takashima and her brother awaited the quake’s cessation, only to find the ground fracturing around them, prompting their hurried escape towards the nearby beach. Amidst the chaos, she could hear the fishermen yelling, “There’s a tsunami coming! Get up the hill!”. Responding swiftly, Takashima carried her brother up the hill, but the shaking was so strong that her brother slipped out of her arms several times. They managed to find refuge within a temple cemetery. For three days and nights, they endured hunger, thirst, and the relentless onslaught of mosquito bites. At the age of 93, she shared the story of her experience at an elementary school in Zushi City. This led to the publication of a picture book in 2021 by “Geo Kanagawa”, in which she talked about her experience of the disaster.

Takashima evacuated from Zushi to Kamakura in 1941 (Showa 16) during the war, and lived in Tokyo after her marriage. Around the age of 80, she moved to the area around Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, where her nephew lived.

Takashima passed away of natural causes in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, on 23 October 2023, at the age of 112 years, 69 days.

RECOGNITION

Her age was verified by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW), as well as Yu Li and Yumi Yamamoto, and validated by LongeviQuest on 30 August 2023.

At the time of death, she was the third-oldest living person in Kanagawa Prefecture, behind Masa Matsumoto and Nobu Kōno.

GALLERY

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