Connect to share and comment

News you wish you didn't know.

World's oldest person: China versus Japan

As if the two countries didn't have enough to fight about.
Worlds oldest personEnlarge
Besse Cooper was born in 1896 in northern Tennessee, the same year as comedian George Burns and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Michel Porro/AFP/Getty Images)

Jiroemon Kimura, born 1897 in Japan, was thought to be the world's oldest living person at 115. But now Luo Meizhen, a Chinese woman, claims to be 127 years old.

As if the two countries didn't have enough to fight about.

More from GlobalPost: Why all the fuss in the South China Sea?

Kimura lives in Kyotango, Japan, with 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren, according to Shanghaiist.com. The Guinness Book of World Records has  verified his age and acknowledged him as the world's oldest person.

But then China's Xinhua news agency reported on Luo Meizhen of Bama, Guangxi, whom they say turned 127 years young in September, according to the Daily Mail.

In December, Xinhua reported:

"As of November 2011, the Chinese mainland had registered 48,921 people above the age of 100, according to the Gerontological Society of China. The oldest living Chinese person is Luo Meizhen, a 126-year-old woman from the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southwest China."

But it's impossible to verify Luo's age with the documents available, Australia’s SBS Dateline reported:

“Proof of her age…is impossible to verify. Birth certificates only began to be kept in this area after the 1949 Communist takeover. This faded copy of her identity card is the only evidence that Luo is the age she says she is.”

If Luo really is 127, she's not only the world's oldest living person — she's the world's oldest person ever recorded. The previous record-holder, Jeannie Calment of France, died in 1997 at 122.

In December, Besse Cooper (see photo) — who had been the world's oldest living person — died in Georgia at age 116. She left behind four children, 11 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/worlds-oldest-person-its-china-versus-japan

.

Featured Slideshow

The 2013 World Press Photo Awards

Culled from more than 100,000 submissions, these photos represent the best in photojournalism from the past year.