Japanese sisters certified as world’s oldest twins at 107

Tokyo, Sept. 22 (BNA): Two Japanese sisters are recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest identical twins, aged 107, in an announcement Monday to coincide with Respect for the Elderly Day, a national holiday in Japan.

Umino Sumiyama and Kom Kodama were born the third and fourth of 11 siblings on the island of Shodoshima in western Japan on November 5, 1913, according to the Associated Press.

They were separated after elementary school, when Kodama was sent to work as a maid in Oita on the main island of Kyushu in southern Japan. She later married there, while Simyama remained on the island where they were raised and has her own family.

The sisters later recalled their difficult days in their youth. When they grew up, they said they were bullied because of prejudice against children who give birth to multiple births in Japan.

The sisters have been busy with their lives for decades, and they rarely meet until their 70s, when they begin pilgrimages together to some of Shikoku’s 88 temples and enjoy reconnecting.

Guinness World Records said in a statement that Sumiyama and Kodama were 107 years and 300 days old as of September 1, breaking the previous record held by popular Japanese sisters Ken Narita and Jin Kani at 107 years and 175 days.

Their families told Guinness that the sisters often joked about surviving longer than the previous record holders, affectionately known as “Ken-san, Jin-san,” who achieved idol-like status in the late ’90s due to their age and sense of humour.

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About 29% of the population of 125 million in Japan, the world’s fastest-aging country, is 65 or older, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. About 86,510 of them are centenarians – half of them reached 100 this year.

Due to anti-coronavirus measures, certificates for their record were mailed to the separate nursing homes where they now live, and Sumiyama accepted her certificates with tears of joy, according to Guinness.

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