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BIOGRAPHY

Nobu Kōno was born in Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, on 28 March 1911, as the fifth of nine siblings. After graduating from elementary school, she spent several years working as a babysitter in a mansion in Tokyo, a common practice among Japanese girls during that era. When she was around 21, she got married in Kanagawa Prefecture, and went on to have five children.

During World War II, she worked at a munitions factory for a period. She experienced many hardships during the war, one of which was the need to cultivate sweet potatoes and other vegetables on the Tsurumi Riverbed due to severe food shortages. Following the Kanagawa Air Raid, her family evacuated to Yamanashi, her husband’s hometown. During their time in Yamanashi, she supported her family by selling charcoal, a daily trek that took her up the Ubaguchi Pass to Kofu. After the war concluded, she returned with her family to Kanagawa, where she dedicated herself to homemaking and raising her children as a housewife. She possessed a talent for Japanese sewing and occasionally took on part-time work crafting handkerchiefs or creating kimonos for neighbors.

In 1978, when she was 67 years old, her husband passed away, aged 73. She lived independently until she was 92 years old. She actively participated in her town’s elderly club, engaging in club activities such as calligraphy and knitting and joining the club’s trips until she was 95 years old. Her home was situated atop a steep hill, which she ascended daily until she turned 105. According to her family, this routine strengthened her legs and hips. At the age of 105, she battled aspiration pneumonia, which led to her relocation to a nursing home. She had a preference for tuna sashimi, which she frequently enjoyed as an appetizer alongside her sake. To minimize the risk of aspiration, her diet was adapted to include thickened porridge. At the age of 112, she is still able to feed herself without assistance.

RECOGNITION

In September 2023, she was recognized as the oldest living person in Kanagawa Ward, Yokohama City. She was also reported as the second-oldest living person in Kanagawa Prefecture, behind Masa Matsumoto. On September 15th, the mayor of Kanagawa Ward paid her a visit to extend his congratulations on her longevity.

Her age was verified by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW), as well as Yumi Yamamoto and Yutaka Kōno, and validated by LongeviQuest on 17 October 2023.

ATTRIBUTION

(All the information regarding Nobu Kōno’s biography was gathered through interviews conducted by LongeviQuest with her family.)

* “区内最高齢は河野さん(112)” – Town News Kanagawa Ward Edition, 21 September 2023

* “9月 敬老月間の出会い~すてきなシニアの方々をお訪ねしました” – Kanagawa Ward, Yokohama City, 22 September 2023

GALLERY

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