Kamato Hongo

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Kamato Hongo
本郷 かまと
Born April 8, 1891[citation needed]
(or September 16, 1887[1])
Tokunoshima, Japan
Died (2003-10-31)October 31, 2003
aged 112 years, 206 days
(or 116 years, 45 days)
Kagoshima, Japan
Cause of death Pneumonia

Kamato Hongo (nee "Kimura" (本郷 かまと, Hongō Kamato) (April 8, 1891[citation needed] (or September 16, 1887[2]) – October 31, 2003) was a Japanese supercentenarian. She was considered to be the world's oldest recognized living person[3] from March 2002 until her death. The Guinness World Records withdrew its acceptance and verification of Hongo's age claim in 2012.[4]


Hongo was born Kamato Kimura on the small island of Tokunoshima, home of fellow longevity claimant Shigechiyo Izumi, on April 8, 1891.[5] Hongo gave birth to seven children (three daughters and four sons) between 1909 and 1933.[6] 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.

She spent her later life in Kagoshima, Kyūshū, and celebrated her claimed 116th birthday the month before her death from pneumonia.

Kyūshū has been the home of other age recordholders, including former world's oldest man and person 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[edit]

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 born about 1891, and on April 8 per her family, not September 16, and aged 112, or so, when she died, rather than 116.[5] This means that Hongo was probably never the real world's oldest living person or even Japan's oldest living person.

See also[edit]