Shitsui Hakoishi graciously greeted a pair of scientists at her home-cum-barber shop in a rural community in Tochigi Prefecture one morning in late November.

“Thank you for coming despite your busy schedule,” were her first words.

The petite woman with short hair, who still practices as a barber, is 107 years old. Though she complains of knee pains, she stands with a straight back. Her mind is alert, and she smiles a lot.