6. Kame Nakamura (Born March 8, 1898)
Kame Nakamura is Japan's third-oldest living person. She is 114 and lives in Okinawa prefecture, a small island between the East China and Philippine Seas. Many believe that Okinawans know the secret to "eternal youth," as many of them achieve centenarian status. Okinawans are generally active people and live on a low-calorie diet consisting of olive oil, fruits, veggies, and grains.
5. Misawo Okawa (Born March 5, 1898)
Born in 1898, Misawo Okawa has just marked her 114th birthday, making her the oldest woman in Japan's Osaka prefecture, which is roughly 36 miles southwest of Kyoto. Until September 2011, when her age was reported to the Japanese authorities, Okawa's impressive longevity was not widely known. However, a bit of mystery surrounds her standing; there are ongoing efforts to identify another woman in Osaka who was reportedly born sometime between October and December 1897, a few months before Okawa. Until this unknown woman is identified, Okawa holds her title as the province's leading female supercentenarian.
4. Leila Denmark (Born February 1, 1898)
Until she retired in May 2001, Leila Alice Denmark (born Leila Daughtry) was the oldest-practicing pediatrician in the world, working at the Henrietta Eggleston Hospital on Atlanta's Emory University campus until she was 103 years old. Denmark's medical career is impressive: She was the third woman to graduate with a doctor of medicine degree from the Medical College of Georgia, and she codeveloped the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine. Denmark has a lot of advice for aspiring supercentenarians. For example, she strongly objects to junk food and sweets (she has refused birthday cake several times because of the sugar content) and recommends drinking only water. Denmark also says a sense of humor is key to a long life, and she should know: She celebrated her 114th birthday in February.
3. Jiroemon Kimura (Born April 19, 1897)
In April 2012, Jiroemon Kimura will celebrate his 115th birthday, making him the oldest man alive, not to mention the oldest man to ever earn the title of "oldest man alive." He is also one of only six men in the world to live past 114. A native of Kyoto, Japan, Kimura was lucky to survive the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck his town in 1927, killing more than 3,000 people. He chalks up his long life to a healthy diet. Having retired from his 40-year stint as a postman, Japan's oldest person now spends his time watching televised sumo wrestling matches. Kimura has seven children (five surviving), 15 grandchildren (14 surviving), 23 great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren.
2. Dina Manfedini (Born April 4, 1897)
Although she was originally born in the small town of Sant'Andrea, Italy, Dina Manfedini (née Dina Guerri) moved to Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, Riccardo (15 years her senior) in 1920. She's been there ever since. During World War II, Manfedini worked at a local ammunition factory before moving on to cleaning houses until the age of 90. Together, the Manfedinis raised four children (three of whom are still alive), who went on to produce seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great-grandchildren. Although she spends the majority of her time taking it easy, Manfedini is very much a part of her religious community. She is one of the several members of the Sacred Heart Parish over the age of 100. Manfedini will turn 115 this April.
1. Besse Cooper (Born August 26, 1896)
On Jan. 31, 2011, Besse Cooper was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living person on earth. Cooper (née Besse Berry Brown) was born on August 26, 1896, in Sullivan County, Tenn., and moved to Between, Ga., in 1917 at age 21. It was here that she married Luther Cooper and raised four children. With the death of 113-year-old Beatrice Farve on Jan. 19, 2009, Cooper became the oldest resident in Georgia, and two years later, she nabbed the world record. August 26 will mark her 116th birthday.