Yoshi Baba was born in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan on 3 June 1907. She was the youngest of nine siblings. Her father served in a samurai family at the Kofu Palace.
Baba graduated from the Kofu High School and the Yamanashi Women’s Normal School and became an elementary school teacher. At the beginning of the Showa era, she married her husband, Ichiro Son (69 years old) who was a teacher of elementary and junior high school in the early years. While raising children, she taught at the elementary school in Abuko and Kofu for about 20 years.
Baba said: “Kofu was a place of life. It was the most fun when I was in Kofu. I was able to do what I wanted. I was happy.”
In 1944, when the Pacific War’s war had become more intense, Baba moved to Toneha, Minobu-cho (former Shimomachi), where her husband’s parents’ house was. On the day of the Kofu air raid in July of the following year, Baba’s daughter remembered her crying while seeing the region of Kofu being burnt.
After coming to Minobu, Baba concentrated on housework, childcare, and fieldwork. Her daughter remembered that she had a hard time living in the country, but she never heard whining or complaining.
After the children became independent, Baba devoted herself to her hobbies and belonged to the Tanka Club of the Cultural Association of the town which she continued until she was 90 years old. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Tachigiri pictures were acquired by teaching materials. Baba was self-taught. She was enthusiastic about creating art until she was about 100 years old.
Baba has always loved reading books, and especially historical novels and Agatha Christie’s mystery novels. “I wonder how many times did I read Miyamoto Musashi’s novel. It is an old story. It taught me the joy of living.”
Baba has 5 children, 9 grandchildren, and 17 grandchildren as of 2018. Until the age of 103, she did everything on her own, such as taking baths and changing clothes. Since 2016, she has lived in a special elderly nursing home in the town. She is humble, “I am not a god or anything. I am just an ordinary old woman. When I finish one day, I have spent it all day long. I want to live my own way. I want to speak while I can speak,” she said.
In September 2018, Baba was reported to be the oldest living person in Yamanashi Prefecture.
Yoshi Baba died in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan on 4 January 2022 at the age of 114 years, 215 days.