Vietnam says local woman is world's oldest person at 121 years of age

July 31, 2014

By MANABU SASAKI/ Correspondent

HO CHI MINH CITY--The world’s officially recognized oldest person, 116-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan, may have to surrender her title to a Vietnamese woman five years her senior.

A local company that verifies national records in Vietnam recently recognized supercentenarian Nguyen Thi Tru as the nation’s oldest person, certifying her to be 121 years of age.

"Thanks to everyone, I'm doing well," Tru said while relaxing in a hammock above the dirt floor in her home in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Chanh district. "Thank you for coming."

Tru was born in 1893, according to the photo ID that was issued to her by local authorities in 1979.

The Vietnam Book of Records, or Viet Kings, said documents published during the era of French colonial rule (1887-1945) verified her date of birth. Tru has already been awarded with a certificate stating she is the oldest living Vietnamese person.

Guinness World Records recognized Okawa, from Osaka, Japan, as the world’s oldest person in February of 2013 when she was 114 years old.

Viet Kings plans to seek a listing in the Guinness book for Tru.

Tru had 11 children and now lives with her youngest son, Nguyen Huu Phuong, 72, and his family in their home in Da Phuoc commune, just 40 minutes south of central Ho Chi Minh City by car. Her memory is not what it was. She sometimes calls Phuong "big brother."

According to her son, Tru was able to walk unassisted and perform household chores until three years ago, but now she spends most of the day in bed or in a hammock.

Her day starts at 6:30 a.m., when she has porridge and milk for breakfast. Her lunch and dinner usually consist of diced vegetables and meat. A soup dish made from boiled bananas seasoned with sugar and salt is her favorite snack. Tru still has strong teeth, which is credited to the areca nuts she used to chew.

Whenever Tru has guests, she greets them with a smile. Singing lullabies from time to time, she remains a cheerful individual who rarely gets upset.

By MANABU SASAKI/ Correspondent
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121-year-old Nguyen Thi Tru, the oldest Vietnamese person alive according to the Vietnam Book of Records, relaxes on a hammock next to her son Nguyen Huu Phuong in their house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on July 29. Her 72-year-old son, the youngest of her 11 children, shows off the certificate awarded to her by the company confirming her age. (Manabu Sasaki)

121-year-old Nguyen Thi Tru, the oldest Vietnamese person alive according to the Vietnam Book of Records, relaxes on a hammock next to her son Nguyen Huu Phuong in their house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on July 29. Her 72-year-old son, the youngest of her 11 children, shows off the certificate awarded to her by the company confirming her age. (Manabu Sasaki)

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  • 121-year-old Nguyen Thi Tru, the oldest Vietnamese person alive according to the Vietnam Book of Records, relaxes on a hammock next to her son Nguyen Huu Phuong in their house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on July 29. Her 72-year-old son, the youngest of her 11 children, shows off the certificate awarded to her by the company confirming her age. (Manabu Sasaki)
  • Nguyen Thi Tru's government-issued photo ID states that she was born in 1893. (Manabu Sasaki)

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