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Yoshiko Miwa has endured a lot of hardship throughout her life, but at 110 years old, she’s now focused on the positive. caught up with Miwa in early May, who says he’s primary piece of advice to live a long life is simple: Don’t dwell on the negative. She also encourages people to adopt hobbies. When she retired, she would walk 4 miles each morning. In 1990, at 76 years old, she walked a 20K for charity. She’s also an avid reader, practices ikebana which is flower arranging, sumi-e which Japanese ink art, sashiko which Japanese stitching, sewing, furniture refinishing and reupholstery. She even drove until the age of 100. But, these days, she said favorite activity is sleeping.

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Miwa also engages in a daily noodle ritual. From spaghetti to soba, this ritual traces back to her time in a children’s home. When her mother and infant brother died, Miwa and her siblings were sent to live in a children’s home founded by the Guadalupe Buddhist Church. Despite the adversity she faced, she went on to earn multiple degrees and learn numerous languages. Miwa also credits her faith and gratitude toward the Buddhist community that supported her as a child. While the Buddhist religion has been a constant source of strength, her love for her family has kept her energized and joyful. Miwa has 3 sons and a handful of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Miwa is part of the nisei. The nisei are the second-generation Japanese Americans who were sent to internment camps during World War II who often say “gaman,” which translates to “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.” This phrase is often loosely translated to “perseverance,” “patience” or “tolerance.” Alan Miwa, her son, told believes those feelings are born from the resilience of many from his mother’s generation, who had much to endure.

Right now, Alan Miwa said, his mom is in good health and lives in a care facility where she gets her hair done each week and attends church services on Sundays.

Oldest Living Japanese American Shares Tips to Live a Long Life  was originally published on