5 February 1907Unknown, Japan


23 April 2020Kainan, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan



Sumie Yabune

Sumie Yabune [Japanese: 藪根すみゑ] was a Japanese supercentenarian who was the oldest person in Wakayama Prefecture at the time of her death. She was also among the top 10 oldest living people in Japan. Her age has been validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG).

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Yabune was born in Japan on 5 February 1907. She got married at the age of 22, and had six children – three sons and three daughters. Her husband was a bank clerk.

Between 1 and 23 December 2015, aged 108, Yabune became the oldest living person in Wakayama Prefecture, following the death of a 108-year-old anonymous man from Wakayama City. At the age of 111, all six of her children were still alive, aged between 74 and 88; she also had 13 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. She reported that cake was her favourite food, and that the secret to her longevity was to “eat anything and move well.”

Yabune died on 23 April 2020 at the age of 113 years, 78 days, having held the title of Wakayama’s oldest living person for over four years, the longest since Hide Ohira (1880 – 1995), who held the title for nearly nine years. Yabune’s successor as oldest in the prefecture was 110-year-old Kosakae Hirata, who died four days later.

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Yabune was first known to researchers when she became the oldest resident of Wakayama. She was reported during Keiro no hi (Respect for the Aged Day) in Japan every September thereafter until her death.