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Shino Mori

Gerontology Research Group
Validated By: Gerontology Research Group On Date: Aug. 06th 2015

Shino Mori (森 シノ) was a Japanese supercentenarian whose age is validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG), and recognized by LongeviQuest.

Biography

Shino Mori was born in Amakusa City, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan on November 09, 1903 according to Japan’s family register. However, she claimed to have been two months earlier than this officially registered date on September 09. She was the third daughter of eight children.

When Mori was 24, she married a local man named Akiyoshi, who was two years her senior. They had five children together, but tragedy struck when he passed away when she was 32, leaving her to raise their five children alone while engaged in agricultural work. This work, which involved carrying around hefty sacks of rice on her shoulders, and in an age where oxen, not tractors, were used to cultivate the land, was not without its difficulties, but while such intense manual labor must have been trying at times for a woman of such slender frame, nobody ever heard Mori complain.

At some point, she lost two of her children to illness.

Mori was an avid gateball player and accrued an impressive collection of commemorative letters and medals throughout her life. Playing became difficult in old age as her former teammates began to pass away, but she always looked back on her sporting career with pride.

Commenting on life surrounded by family and relatives while living with her oldest son and his wife at the age of 102, she said “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.” Other than being slightly hard of hearing, she was said to be in excellent health and was still capable of standing on her own—shocking those around her with her remarkably straight posture when she did. She had excellent eyesight and was still capable of threading a thread through the eye of a needle. She was said to look twenty years her junior.

Mori was still actively engaged in farming work on the mandarin orchard behind her house—spanning roughly 3,000 square meters and boasting a whopping 200 citrus trees—at the age of 102. She woke up every day at 6am, made herself a lunchbox, and worked on the orchard from 8am until evening. Her son expressed his gratitude for her keeping the orchard neat and tidy with her weeding. A TV crew visiting the house to make a program about Mori were astonished by how easily she made her way up the steep hill leading to the orchard, and how quickly she made her way back down it when she was finished.

In her old age, Mori’s daughter-in-law cooked her meals. She wasn’t picky when it came to food, and her diet was mainly vegetable-based and distinctly Japanese. She ate plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables from the fields accompanied by side dishes of wheat and grains, and homemade miso soup, soy sauce and garlic were used in abundance. When fish were in season, she ate locally-caught horse mackerel and cod, either fried or pickled in vinegar.

Mori said that her greatest pleasure was drinking shōchū, a type of distilled Japanese rice alcohol. She drank a glass every day after finishing her work on the orchard. In the past, she drank it neat, but by the age of 111, had come to enjoy mixing in a teaspoon of white sugar and hot water. When she wasn’t drinking, Mori enjoyed bathing in a hot spring during her twice-weekly day service outings.

She had a bright, cheerful personality and was said to make a conscious effort to get along with those around her, once commenting “Even if there’s something you don’t like, you won’t fight if you work it out together.” She was a firm believer in the wisdom of “What will be will be,” and advocated not dwelling on or worrying about things.

Mori was well-known locally through her work as an announcer for Amakusa TV, a subscription-based internet media broadcaster. She spent nine years between the ages of 102 and 111 here, regularly featuring on shows like the Specialty Octopus Tasting Report and Weather Corner wearing her signature pink coat.  She was known as “The world’s oldest female announcer,” and referred to affectionately by the viewers as “Shino-chan.” She once appeared on TV with then prime minister Tarō Asō during his 2008 election campaign. When the prime minister asked her the secret to her longevity, she replied “Drinking sake after coming home after work,” but then adding “…It’s thanks to the government,” making everyone present laugh. Her popularity was not limited to inside Japan, and she featured in collaborations with TV crews from Germany, South Korea, and Algeria throughout her career. In 2009, she was inducted into the Amakusa TV Female Announcer Hall of Fame and honored for her broadcasting activities and achievements around the world as an elderly female announcer. She made her last appearance in 2011 in a broadcast offering hope and support to those affected by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, in which she talked about the suffering and hardship she’d experienced during her own life.

As of November 2014, she had three children, 11 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great-grandchildren, totaling a family of 40 spanning across five generations. In her later years, she resided in a nursing home for the elderly.

Shino Mori passed away surrounded by her family in Amakusa City, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan on August 23, 2015 at the age of 111 years, 287 days.

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Recognition

Her age was validated by the Gerontology Research Group on 6 August 2015, and was later recognized by LongeviQuest.

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Attribution

* “世界最高齢!! 女子アナはなんと 111歳” – Amakusa TV
https://www.amakusa.tv/newscas_3.html
* “森シノさん(もり・しの)”- Amakusa TV
https://www.amakusa.tv/okuyami_mori.html
* “[追悼抄]「世界最高齢」女子アナウンサー 森シノさん” – Yomiuri Shimbun, November 7, 2015, Tokyo morning edition