Cracking 100 years of age is an incredible personal achievement. Considering the average lifespan of people living in first-world countries, it’s a testament to both one’s good health practices and a sheer defiance of mathematical probability. The only thing that would be more impressive than one person cracking 100 would be two people cracking 100 at the exact same time. Turns out, that’s exactly what a pair of twins from Japan did.
Japanese identical twins Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama have been officially certified by Guinness World Records as both the oldest living identical twins and the oldest identical twins ever. Both siblings were born on November 5, 1913, which means they are both currently 107 years old, going on 108.
According to Guinness, the twins were born on Shodo Island in Japan’s Kagawa prefecture to a family of 13. Due to being twins, the two were frequently bullied by other children, so they were kept apart for a large portion of their lives, only making contact during family events. When they were both 70 years old, the two went on several Buddhist pilgramiges together, deepening their bond.
At the time, the record holders for oldest twins were two Japanese sisters, Kin Narita and Gin Kanie. Sumiyama and Kodama frequently joked about beating their record when they were in their 90s, though they were surprised when they finally did it.
Guinness World Records certified two Japanese sisters as the world’s oldest living identical twins at 107, in an announcement coinciding with Respect for the Aged Day, a national holiday in Japan. https://t.co/qRAiIg88PQ pic.twitter.com/8CtSbDJKCE
— ABC News (@ABC) September 21, 2021
When Sumiyama received her certificate of the record, she burst into tears of joy. Kodama, unfortunately, was not able to recognize the scope of the record due to memory problems brought on by her advanced age.
Thanks to these twins, Japan now holds several records for age. Currently, the oldest man alive is Japanese man Kane Tanaka, who is 118 years old. Tanaka has survived two bouts with cancer, lived through two global pandemics, and according to his profile, has an affinity for fizzy drinks.