Toku Isaka was born into a family of fishmongers in the village of Nishikurobe (now part of Matsusaka City), Mie Prefecture, Japan, on September 26, 1911. She was the youngest of four children and the third daughter. Her passion for learning began in her childhood, and she consistently earned the title of honor student throughout her elementary school years. Since she was a young child, her aspiration was to become a teacher. Upon graduating from the old prefectural women’s normal school in Kameyama City, she began her teaching career at the age of 19.
In 1935, she got married at the age of 24. While she was working at an elementary school, her husband went off to war and lost his life in battle. For 35 years, she dedicated herself to educating first-grade students in elementary school. Following this, she served as a kindergarten director for a decade, briefly worked as a junior college instructor for a year, and returned to her role as a kindergarten director for another ten years. After retiring from her formal teaching career, she remained active in her community, volunteering in childcare and working as a “grandma teacher” at nursery schools across the prefecture, a role she embraced until she was approximately 95 years old. She dedicated her passion to teaching young children the art of drawing, and eventually had more than 6,000 children’s paintings in her home.
In October 2000, at the age of 89, Isaka organized a “Children’s Art Exhibition” and published a book around the same time. On March 23, 2012, a celebration was held at the Matsuzaka City Civic Center to commemorate Isaka’s 100th birthday, attended by 42 of her former elementary school students. During the winter when she was 109 years old, she fell while doing laundry, resulting in a broken bone. However, she recovered after receiving treatment at her home.
Toku Isaka passed away of natural causes at her home in Yamazoe-cho, Matsusaka City, Mie Prefecture, Japan, on 2 November 2022, at the age of 111 years, 37 days.
In September 2022, she was reported as the oldest living person in Mie Prefecture. Her predecessor, Katsumi Ando, went to limbo.
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 14 September 2023.