|Born||c. 1893 (or September 16, 1887)
|Died||October 31, 2003
aged about 110 (or 116 years, 45 days)
|Cause of death||Pneumonia|
Kamato Hongo (本郷 かまと Hongō Kamato ) (c. 1893 (or September 16, 1887) – October 31, 2003) was a Japanese centenarian and possibly a supercentenarian. She was considered to be the world's oldest recognized living person from March 2002 until her death. The Guinness Book of World Records withdrew its acceptance and verification of Hongo's age claim in 2012.
Hongo was born Kamato Kimura on the small island of Tokunoshima, home of Shigechiyo Izumi, around 1893. Hongo gave birth to seven children (three daughters and four sons) between 1909 and 1933. She later moved to Kagoshima on Kyūshū, where she lived with her daughter. She was considered to be the oldest person in Japan after the death of Denzo Ishisaki in 1999. Hongo attained a measure of celebrity and was the focus of some merchandise (washcloths, keyrings, phone cards, etc.) sold highlighting her longevity. She appeared on Japanese television several times.
Kyūshū has been the home of other age recordholders, including former WOM and WOP Yukichi Chuganji, who died one month before her. In January 2007, another Kyūshū islander, Yone Minagawa, attained the world's oldest person title, and Kyūshū resident Tomoji Tanabe took the men's title, once again making it the "island of longevity".
Doubts About Her Case
Belgian researcher Michel Poulain has looked over Kamato Hongo's koseki records, and determined that since she had an older sister born in 1887, an older brother born in 1890 and that since there was no mention of an adoption, Hongo was probably actually about 110 or so when she died, rather than 116. This means that Hongo was probably never the real WOP and never even Japan's oldest living person. She might or might not have been a supercentenarian at the time of her death.
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- "Kamato Hongo, 116; Believed to Be World's Oldest Person". November 1, 2003. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
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