The world's oldest living person, Kama Chinen of Okinawa, Japan, died Sunday, just a week before her 115th birthday. Her family did not release any details, but Chinen had been spending her final years at a nursing home in Nanjo. She lived to be 114 years and 357 days old.

Japan has a high percentage of the world's supercentenarians, people who've lived for over 100 years, and many of them are from Okinawa like Chinen. A Japanese government report in September tallied more than 40,000 Japanese over the century mark.

The new claimant to the title is Eugenie Blanchard, an 114-year-old nun from France.

Chinen's death moves the line of oblivion, the start date of the living history of the world, forward from Chinen's May 10, 1895, birthday to Blanchard's on Feb. 16, 1896.

There's no longer a person who could have attended the trial of Oscar Wilde, who was convicted in England of "sodomy and gross indecency" (May 25, 1895), dodged bullets at the Acme Saloon in El Paso, Texas, when the outlaw John Wesley Hardin was killed (Aug. 19, 1895) or felt the 6.6-magnitude Missouri earthquake (Oct. 31, 1895), the last major quake to date on the New Madrid fault line.

No more sports fans are around who saw the first professional football game (Sept. 3, 1895), a 12-0 victory by the Latrobe Athletic Association over the Jeannette Athletic Club; the opening week of the first professional rugby league (Sept. 7, 1895), or the first American auto race (Nov. 25, 1897). The trek from Chicago to Milwaukee was won by Charles Duryea's Motor Wagon, which completed the drive in seven hours and 53 minutes at an average speed of 7 mph.

Chinen was the last person who could have drank a glass of milk with the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur (died Sept. 28, 1895), shared the wealth with communist philosopher Friedrich Engels (Aug. 5, 1895) or sat for a portrait by the American photographer Mathew Brady (Jan. 15, 1896).

-- Rogers Cadenhead

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