A resident of Hiroshima, she worked on a farm until injuring her hands at the age of 99. Another Hiroshima woman, Asa Takii (1884-1998), had lived to age 114 and become oldest in Japan, but Kawate is the oldest person in the city's history and the only one from there to become oldest in the world. She was known for her fondness for custard.
She was taken to a hospital shortly before her death from pneumonia.
Her death left Charlotte Benkner of Ohio the oldest person in the world.