Nabi Tajima, who was born on August 4, 1900, died on Saturday on the in the southern town of Kikai after being admitted to hospital in January.
Nabi Tajima moving to music at her care home.
She became world's oldest woman in Japan in September 2015, could have been the oldest person in the world since Violet Brown of Jamaica died in September 2017 at age 117, Japanese media said. (1900 is the last year of that century rather than the first year of the 20th century.) Tajima lived through the introduction of technological marvels like cars, air travel, TV, space travel, computers, the Internet, and smartphones, as well as two world wars.
"She passed away as if falling asleep".
Her legacy is similarly expansive; she had nine children and 160 descendants, including great-great-great grandchildren, the Gerontology Research Group said.
Guinness World Records also had been conducting research with a view to recognizing Tajima as the oldest living person after the death of Brown. Miyako, 116, was born on May 2, 1901. She danced with her hands at the sound of a samisen, a traditional three-string instrument.
Now comes Miyako, who lives south of Tokyo.
Japan is known for the longevity of its people which many believe is down to their healthy diets.
Guinness World Records certified 112-year-old Masazo Nonaka of northern Japan as the world's oldest man earlier this month, and was planning to recognise Tajima as the world's oldest person.