Misao Okawa (大川 ミサヲ, Ōkawa Misao, sometimes romanized as Misawo Okawa; 5 March 1898 – 1 April 2015)[4] was a Japanese supercentenarian who was the world's oldest living person from the death of Japanese man Jiroemon Kimura on 12 June 2013 until her own death on 1 April 2015.[6]

Okawa is the second oldest verified Japanese and Asian person ever and was the last verified living Japanese person born in the 1800s.[7] Okawa was the 30th person verified to have reached age 115, the tenth verified person to reach the age of 116 and the fifth verified person to reach the age of 117.[8][9]


Okawa was born on 5 March 1898, the fourth daughter of a draper in the Tenma district (present-day Kita-ku) of Osaka. From 1997, she lived at a nursing home in Higashisumiyoshi-ku, Osaka.[4] She married Yukio Okawa in 1919 and had three children (two daughters and one son), of whom her son, Hiroshi, and daughter Shizuyo survived her.[10] Her husband died on 20 June 1931 at age 36. She had four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.[10][11] She was able to walk until she was 110, when she began using a wheelchair to prevent falls. She could, however, propel herself using her wheelchair.[10]


Okawa was the world's oldest living woman since the death of 115-year-old Japanese woman Koto Okubo on 12 January 2013.[12] On 27 February 2013, a few days before her 115th birthday, she was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest living woman in the world and was presented with a certificate at her nursing home in Osaka.[11]

Okawa said that sushi and sleep were the reasons why she lived so long.[13] On her 117th birthday, she said that her life seemed short. When asked about the secret of her longevity, she replied, jokingly, "I wonder about that too."[14]


Okawa died at her nursing home residence in Higashisumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, Japan, at 6:58 am, on 1 April 2015[4][15] after suffering heart failure.[16] At the time of her death, Okawa was the fifth oldest verified person ever recorded.[17] Following the death of Okawa, American woman Gertrude Weaver became the world's oldest living person until her own death five days later.[18]

See also