TOKYO — Guinness World Records has recognized two Japanese sisters as the world’s oldest living identical twins, at the age of 107 years and 330 days, the organization said Monday.
The announcement fell on Japan’s Respect for the Elderly Day, a national holiday.
According to Guinness World Records Ltd., the sisters beat the previous record of 107 years and 175 days set by famed Japanese twin sisters Kin Narita and Gin Kanie on Sept. 1.
According to the health and welfare ministry, over 29% of Japan’s 125 million people are 65 or older, making it the world’s fastest aging country. About 86,510 of them are centenarians, with half of them celebrating their 100th birthday this year.
After graduating from elementary school, Sumiyama and Kodama were separated when Kodama was assigned to work as a maid in Oita, on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu. Sumiyama, on the other hand, stayed on the island where they grew up and raised her own family.
Later, the sisters reflected on their tough youth. They said they were bullied as children as a result of prejudice against the offspring of multiple births in Japan.
For decades, the sisters were too preoccupied with their own lives to meet until they were 70 when they began conducting pilgrimages together to some of Shikoku’s 88 temples and relished the opportunity to reunite.
The sisters regularly joked about outliving the previous record holders, fondly known as “Kin-san, Gin-san,” who acquired idol-like status in the late 1990s for both their age and humor, according to their relatives.
According to Guinness, the certificates for their new record were shipped to the different nursing homes where they now live due to anti-coronavirus precautions, and Sumiyama welcomed hers with tears of joy.