The Guinness World Records has certified two Japanese sisters as the world’s oldest living identical twins at 107.

In a statement, Guinness World Records Limited said, Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama were 107 years and 300 days old as of September 1. This broke the previous record set by the famous Japanese sisters Kin Narita and Gin Kanie at 107 years and 175 days.

Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama were born on Nov. 5, 1913, and they are 107 years and 320 days old today.

Sumiyama and Kodama are the third and fourth among their 11 siblings. The twins were born on Shodoshima island in western Japan on November 5, 1913.

The twins were separated after elementary school when Kodama had to move Oita to work as a maid on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu. She got married while living on the island whereas Sumiyama raised her own family on the island of their birth.

Busy with their own family lives, the sisters rarely met for decades. It was not until they were 70 that they began making pilgrimages together to some of the 88 Shikoku temples and started enjoying the reconnection.

Recalled their difficult early years, the sisters said that, growing up, they were bullied because of the prejudice against children of multiple births prevalent at that time in Japan.

Talking to Guinness, their families said that the sisters often joked about outliving the earlier record-holders. The previous record-holding sisters were affectionately referred to as “Kin-san, Gin-san” as they enjoyed idol-like status in the late 1990s for both their age and humour.

World’s fastest ageing nation

Japan’s is the world’s fastest ageing population. Japan’s Health and Welfare Ministry says that about 29 per cent of the population of 125 million are 65 years or older. The ministry says about 86,510 of them are centenarians and half of whom turned 100 this year.

Guinness said that due to the anti-COVID-19 measures, the organisation mailed the record certificates to the separate nursing homes where they now reside. Guinness said that Sumiyama got emotional and shed tears of happiness as she accepted her certificate.


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