Birth

18 March 1893Ranzan, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

Death

6 April 2005Ranzan, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

Age

112

Tane Komine

Tane Komine (Japanese: 小峰た祢) was a validated Japanese supercentenarian. At the time of death, she was the second-oldest living person in Japan, and Saitama Prefecture’s all-time longevity record holder.

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Biography

Tane Komine was born in Ranzan Town, Saitama Prefecture, Japan, on 18 March 1893, the oldest daughter among five siblings. At some point during her youth, she married into an agricultural family in the neighboring town of Tamagawa (now known as Tokigawa). She had eight children while working as a textile weaver. As of April 2005, she had dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In 1971, at the age of 77, she fell victim to a hit-and-run incident when a car struck her outside her house and dragged her nearly 50 meters. Her injuries, which included a broken knee and collarbone, were so severe that she came close to death. While advised to stay at home, she refused to idle away and, against the concerns of those around her, went outside to assist with work in the fields. Her resolute commitment to staying active likely played a role in her rehabilitation. Despite being left permanently unable to bend her left knee, she achieved a full recovery in a short span.

Komine was an avid gateball player. Having retired from her agricultural work around the age of 85, she took up the sport at 88 after taking part in a training session at a local senior citizens’ club and continued to play until 110. She was said to be the oldest gateball player in Japan. Her enthusiasm was matched by her talent; on one occasion, she was awarded a prize at a local over-eighties’ tournament, and in 2001, she was presented with the “Health Achievement Award” by Japan’s National Gateball Federation. Komine attended gateball sessions four times a week at a local ground 800 meters from her home, a distance which she walked by herself. Other than being slightly hard of hearing, she was in good health.

When she went out, Komine always carried her hand mirror in her bag. She frequented the beauty salon every forty days and took immense pride in her appearance. She spoke quickly and enjoyed engaging in conversations. With a wide social circle, her closest friend was a local man sixteen years her junior. At the age of 108, she and her friend sang karaoke together at a local daycare facility, a place she visited three times a week.

Komine followed a well-structured routine which consisted of waking up at 7am and going to bed at 8pm every day. She boasted a voracious appetite, and believed that breakfast was the most important—and delicious—meal of the day, eating more than anyone in her family. She wasn’t picky when it came to food and ate three meals a day. Komine was energetic and independent. At the age of 108, she still bathed and went to the toilet by herself. Preferring to move around instead of sitting inside doing nothing, she had an active daily routine which included weeding her garden and regularly going out around town. Be it visiting friends, buying her groceries at the supermarket, or going to the beauty salon, Komine could regularly be seen out walking around the neighborhood with her Zimmer frame. She enjoyed going on vacation, and did so until she was around 110 years old. When asked what is the secret to longevity, she replied, “Nothing in particular.”

Reflecting on her life at the age of 108, Komine said, “I never expected to live this long.” At this time, she lived with her second son Kashiro and his wife Tatsuko, who, speaking fondly of her mother-in-law, said “She locks the door when I go out, she does the laundry – she helps out a lot.” At this time, Komine paid nursing care insurance, but had never once used any of the available benefits, regarding which Tatsuko joked “She’s wasting her money.”

Komine’s younger sister Riko turned 100 in 2002, also making her a centenarian. They were both known for their energetic personalities, and once appeared on a TV show together. When Komine was 108, they met four or five times a year.

At some point around the age of 110, Komine was bitten by a dog. She suffered a serious injury requiring twenty stitches, but was discharged from hospital after three days. Following a decline in her condition, Komine entered a special nursing home for the elderly at the age of 111 in 2004.

Tane Komine passed away at hospital in Ranzan Town, Saitama Prefecture, Japan, on 6 April 2005, at the age of 112 years, 19 days.

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Recognition

On 12 November 1999, following the death of 107-year-old Fuji Ikeda of Saitama City, she became the oldest living person in Saitama Prefecture, at the age of 106.

In March 2003, she celebrated her 110th birthday, becoming the second supercentenarian in Saitama Prefecture, with Asa Yashiro (1888–1998) being the first. Subsequently, on 15 July, she surpassed Yashiro’s final age, becoming the Prefecture’s oldest person ever.

Her age was verified by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW), as well as Nobuko Endo, and validated by the Gerontology Research Group on 15 September 2004.

At the time of her death, she was the second-oldest living person in Japan, after Yone Minagawa. She was succeeded as Saitama Prefecture’s oldest living person by Yoshio Ono (12 November 1896 – 16 January 2006) of Yoshikawa.

Komine held the title of Saitama Prefecture’s all-time longevity record holder until her final age was surpassed by Hana Shindō on 18 November 2013.

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Attribution

* “110歳現役最高齢・小峰た祢選手(埼玉)” – Japan Gateball Union, September 2003

* “小峰た祢さん死去/全国2番目の長寿” – Shikoku Shimbun, 6 April 2005