Japanese sisters, Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama have earned a place in the Guinness World Records book. They are the World’s Oldest Identical Twins Alive (female). Surprisingly, they both are also the oldest identical twins ever (female) at 107 years and 300 days old as verified by the Guinness World Records on 1 September 2021. Umeno and Koume were born on 5th November 1913 on Shodo Island, in West Japan and were the third and fourth siblings of a large family of eleven children.
Both the sisters had a tough childhood as they were frequently bullied but that did not make them bitter. As per their family members, the twins are both optimistic, convivial and do not let small things to bother them. Seemingly, Koume is more tender while Umeno is more headstrong. Both of them started living separately from a young age. Koume left Shodo Island to give her uncle a hand in Kyushu, Japan’s main southwest island; after completing her elementary school while Umeno stayed back in Shodo Island and later married someone who lived on the same island. Koume married someone outside of the Shodo Island. It is interesting to note that both Umeno and Koume had witnessed the two great world wars. Umeno even had to abandon her home towards the end of the Second World War.
The twins live approximately 300 kilometres apart so they do not catch up with each other quite often. They only meet each other at weddings, family gatherings and funerals. However, when they turned 70, they travelled together to various Buddhist pilgrimage places on several occasions. Both the sisters are lighthearted and often joked about reaching the age of Kin Narita and Gin Kanie, the previous title holders of the oldest identical twins living at 107 years and 175 days; and were a common name in every Japanese household. Their family was shocked when they broke Kin and Gin’s record as they did not expect them to really break their record.
The twins, Umeno and Koume, at present live in different care homes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Guinness World Records team was not able to meet the twins in person to present them with their official certificates, so, they were sent to the twins, instead. According to a care home staff, Umeno was tearful on seeing her certificate while Koume did not much understand about receiving a certificate due to some memory issues. Though, their families are delighted that the twins’ achievement has now been officially recognized by the Guinness World Records.
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