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BIOGRAPHY

Kikue Taira was born in Yomitan Village, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, on 26 April 1910 (Meiji 43), as the third of four daughters. Of the four sisters, the eldest and the youngest did not live long, but the second-eldest sister, Kame Ganeko, passed away in 2019, aged 114 years, 191 days.

Mrs. Taira moved to Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture as a teenager to work as a textile spinner before moving back to Okinawa in her early 20’s where she married Mr. Ryoshin, with whom she had six children (five sons and a daughter). She lived on her own for 24 years between the ages of 73 and 97 before entering care after injuring her femur in a fall at home.

While still living at her own home, she enjoyed cooking. She was good at knitting, and she would make woolen capes and other gifts for her children and grandchildren.

Mrs. Taira was said to be very close to her older sister, whom she supported by visiting the nursing home she lived in well into old age. Her granddaughters described her as a “kind, vibrant person who always had a smile on her face” – a warmth which could be felt when they shared stories of the great joy she took in cooking traditional Okinawan food for her family. A woman of varied interests, Mrs. Taira was an avid knitter in her younger years and enjoyed cultivating flowers in her garden, an activity which she continued until entering care at the age of 97, demonstrating her strong sense of self-reliance and physical capability. Her grandchildren believe her hearty appetite has likely contributed to her longevity.

On 7 August 2023, LongeviQuest has confirmed and validated that Kame Ganeko (1905–2019) and Kikue Taira were sisters; based on information from the family register, making them the oldest known pair of siblings in history (with the combined age of 227 years, 294 days on the date of validation). It was also retroactively validated that in April 2020 (Taira’s 110th birthday) they became the second documented sisters supercentenarian pair in history (the first one being Eleanor Eby (1881–1993) and Katharine Davenport (1883–1993) of the United States).

On 19 September 2023, LongeviQuest team paid a visit on her in her nursing home in Okinawa, recognizing and celebrating the long live of both, herself and her late sister Kame Ganeko as the oldest known pair of siblings in history.

Kikue Taira passed away of natural causes on the morning of April 18, 2024, at the age of 113 years and 358 days, with her granddaughter present.

At the time of her death, she was the oldest living person in Okinawa Prefecture.

RECOGNITION

In September 2019, she was reported as the 10th-oldest living person in Okinawa Prefecture, at the age of 109.

In September 2020, she was reported as the seventh-oldest living person in the Prefecture, at the age of 110.

In September 2021, she was reported as the sixth-oldest living person in the Prefecture, at the age of 111.

In September 2022, she was reported as the fourth-oldest living person in the Prefecture, at the age of 112.

ATTRIBUTION

* 県内100歳以上1334人/過去最多” – Okinawa Times, 17 September 2022

GALLERY

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