Secret to couple's 80 years together: Wife's patience

The world's oldest living married couple, Mr Masao Matsumoto and wife Miyako, with their family albums at the nursing home in Takamatsu, Japan, where they live.
The world's oldest living married couple, Mr Masao Matsumoto and wife Miyako, with their family albums at the nursing home in Takamatsu, Japan, where they live.PHOTO: REUTERS

TAKAMATSU (Japan) • Japan is known for its abundance of centenarians and can now lay claim to having the world's oldest living married couple, with a combined age of 208 - a feat the wife credits to her patience during 80 years of marriage.

Mr Masao Matsumoto, 108, and his 100-year-old wife, Miyako, have been confirmed as the oldest living spouses by aggregate age by Guinness World Records, having been married since October 1937.

"It's thanks to my patience, really," said Mrs Miyako Matsumoto with a laugh, posing with her husband and other family members in front of a framed certificate at the nursing home where they live.

The Matsumotos never managed to have a wedding ceremony as Japan was heading into war and Mr Matsumoto was sent overseas as a soldier, but that was no obstacle to their having a big family - including a 25th great-grandchild who was born last month.

"It was an honour (for them) to receive this award. I would love for them to continue living a peaceful life," said their daughter Hiromi.

The Japanese have among the longest life expectancies in the world, with data from Japan's Health Ministry showing they rank No. 2 on average at around 84, just behind people from Hong Kong.

The record for the oldest married couple ever by aggregate age still belongs to Norwegians Karl and Gurdren Dolven, who had a combined age of 210 years, one month and 34 days when the wife died in 2004.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2018, with the headline 'Secret to couple's 80 years together: Wife's patience'. Print Edition | Subscribe