TOKYO (AP) – Guinness World Records certified two Japanese sisters as the world’s oldest living identical twins at 107, in an announcement on Monday coinciding with Respect for the Elderly Day, a national holiday in Japan.
Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama were born on November 5, 1913, the third and fourth of eleven siblings on Shodoshima Island in western Japan.
They were separated after elementary school, when Kodama was sent to work as a maid in Oita on the southern main island of Japan, Kyushu. She later got married there, while Sumiyama remained on the island where they grew up and had her own family.
The sisters later remembered their difficult youth. Growing up, they said they were bullied because of the stigma against multiple birth children in Japan.
Busy with their own lives for decades, the sisters rarely met until the age of 70, when they began making pilgrimages together to some of the 88 temples in Shikoku and enjoyed reconnecting.
Sumiyama and Kodama were 107 years and 300 days old on September 1, breaking the previous record set by famous Japanese sisters Kin Narita and Gin Kanie at 107 years and 175 days, Guinness World Records Ltd. said. in a press release.
Their families told Guinness that the sisters often joked about surviving the early record-holders, affectionately known as “Kin-san, Gin-san,” who achieved idol status at the end of the 1980s. 1990s for their age and their humor.
About 29% of the 125 million people of Japan, the oldest country in the world, are 65 years of age or older, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. About 86,510 of them are 100 years old, half of whom turned 100 this year.
Due to the anti-coronavirus measures, certificates from their case were mailed to the separate nursing homes where they now live, and Sumiyama accepted hers with tears of happiness, according to Guinness.
This story has been corrected to show that the sisters were 107 years old and 300 days old as of September 1.
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