Tanaka was born in Kagoshima Prefecture on 25 February 1907. She lost her husband, Ukichi, at the age of 31, and raised their two daughters by herself; she worked on a farm, as well as a day labourer in civil engineering.
As a centenarian, Tanaka lived with her elder daughter and enjoyed occasional walks with her younger daughter, who lived nearby. It was reported that she enjoyed watching sumo wrestling, ate any food with no particular dislikes, and had a positive personality.
Following the death of 114-year-old Tane Yonekura on 19 May 2018, Tanaka became the oldest resident of Kagoshima. She died in Minamisatsuma City on 15 January 2020 at the age of 112 years, 324 days, and was succeeded as the prefecture’s oldest living person by Shimi Kushiyama, then aged 110.