Shirahama lived in the city of Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, and worked by selling vegetables from a bicycle cart. She married a man called Shutaro, with whom she bore nine children, and was widowed in 1939. Her secret of longevity was “hard work and moderation in eating”. Shirahama spent her later years eating a bowl of soft rice and a cup of sugared soybean soup both for breakfast and dinner, and a cup of honeyed milk and fruit for lunch. On her 113th birthday in 1991, Tatsuya Iwahashi, the mayor of her hometown, brought her a bouquet and 200,000 yen as a gift of congratulations from the city.
She is currently the oldest validated person ever from Miyazaki Prefecture.