BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 10:40 GMT
Japan's oldest twin dies
Kin Narita and Gin Kanie
Gin Kanie (right) and sister Kin were national celebrities
The last surviving sister of Japan's oldest twins has died, aged 108.


We could survive because we were twins - we need each other more than anyone else in the world

Twin Kin
Gin Kanie and her sister Kin Narita, who died last year, became media celebrities in their final decade, charming the Japanese public with their wit and lust for life.

Gin Kanie became bedridden last April, and died peacefully after she stopped taking food last weekend.

Doctors plan to perform an autopsy, if the family consents, to try and determine the secret of her long and healthy life.

"She possessed psychological and physical strengths that one cannot imagine a centenarian having," said one of her doctors.

Her sister Kin died of heart failure in January 2000.

Respect

Gin and Kin, whose names mean silver and gold in Japanese, were born on 1 August 1892 in Nagoya, 270km (170 miles) west of Tokyo.

Kin Narita and Gin Kanie
The twins started travelling rather late, at the age of 102
The twins only became famous when they were 99, after the mayor of Nagoya visited them on Respect for the Aged Day.

The day is a national holiday in Japan, where life expectancy is the highest in the world, and older people command considerable respect.

The twins soon started to appear on television game shows and advertisements.

Their broad smiles and lively interest in the world around them endeared them to people in Japan and abroad.

Aged 102, they made their first trip abroad, visiting Taiwan, where they were greeted by more than 1,000 pairs of twins.

They joked that they were saving the money they earned from their media appearances "to provide for our old age".

Simple life

The twins said that the simplicity of their lives, their frequent walks and each other's company kept them healthy into their second century.

"We never thought we would live this long," said Kin on the twins' 100th birthday.

"We could survive because we were twins. We need each other more than anyone else in the world."

Gin Kanie is survived by four children, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

02 Aug 98 | Asia-Pacific
World's oldest twins reach 106
01 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific
Japan's oldest twins turn 107
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories