A 116-year-old Japanese woman who loves playing the board game Othello was honoured on Saturday as the world's oldest living person by Guinness World Records.

The global authority on records officially recognised Kane Tanaka in a ceremony at the nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka, in Japan's southwest.

Her family and the mayor were present to celebrate.

Tanaka was born on January 2, 1903, the seventh of eight children.

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She married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and they had four children and adopted another child. She is usually up by 6am and enjoys studying mathematics.

Kane Tanaka poses with her Guinness World Records certificate at a nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka. Photo / AP
Kane Tanaka poses with her Guinness World Records certificate at a nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka. Photo / AP

The previous oldest living person was another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, who died in July at age 117. The oldest person prior to Miyako was also Japanese. Japanese tend to exhibit longevity and dominate the oldest-person list.

Although changing dietary habits mean obesity has been rising, it's still relatively rare in a nation whose culinary tradition focuses on fish, rice, vegetables and other food low in fat.

Age is also traditionally respected here, meaning people stay active and feel useful into their 80s and beyond.

But Tanaka has a way to go before she is the oldest person ever, the achievement of a French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to 122 years, according to Guinness World Records.

French woman Jeanne Calment died at the age of 122 years and 164 days in 1997 - making her the oldest person ever. Photo / Getty Images
French woman Jeanne Calment died at the age of 122 years and 164 days in 1997 - making her the oldest person ever. Photo / Getty Images

Guinness said the world's oldest man is still under investigation after the man who had the honours, Masazo Nonaka, living on the Japanese northernmost island of Hokkaido, died in January at 113.

Masazo, who enjoyed eating sweets, used to regularly soak in the springs, and would move about in the inn in a wheelchair, wearing his trademark knit cap.

He spent his retirement watching sumo wrestling on TV, reading newspapers and eating sweets and cakes.

His family put his long life down to the fact he lived his life in a way that did not bring him stress.

He outlived all seven of his siblings, as well as his wife and three of their five children.