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World's oldest living person given chocolate bar with new era name 'Reiwa'

Kane Tanaka, right, is given a big chocolate bar that shows the new era name "Reiwa," in Fukuoka's Higashi Ward, on April 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Toyokazu Tsumura)

FUKUOKA -- A 116-year-old woman confirmed by Guinness World Records as the oldest person alive was given chocolate gifts including a chocolate bar with the new era name "Reiwa" written on it in white chocolate, soon after its announcement on April 1.

Reiwa is the fifth era for Kane Tanaka who was born in the 36th year of Meiji. She was presented with the gift at a nursing home for the elderly in Fukuoka's Higashi Ward, in western Japan.

Kane Tanaka, left, raises chocolate bars that show the five era names Meiji, Taisho, Showa, Heisei and Reiwa in Fukuoka's Higashi Ward, on April 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Toyokazu Tsumura)

Tomoyuki Ando, a 53-year-old local pastry shop owner, decorated the A4-sized chocolate bar and put it in a frame to resemble the board that Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga raised when announcing the new era name.

"It's delicious," said Tanaka as she enjoyed some of the smaller chocolate bars with the five era names -- Meiji, Taisho, Showa, Heisei and Reiwa -- that she also received. "I have more foods I want to try and more things I want to do," she stated.

The woman was born in 1903 -- the year when the Wright brothers made their first powered flights -- as the seventh of nine children and later ran a Japanese rice cake shop with her husband.

"I was the strongest among all nine children," she said proudly. After a care worker explained about the upcoming era name change to her, Tanaka repeatedly said the new era name out loud.

(Japanese original by Emi Aoki, Kyushu News Department)

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