Respect for the Aged

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Today is "Respect for the Aged Day," a national holiday in Japan.

But "the aged" is never us despite our half-truth jests about becoming grey and feeble; it's always someone elder. Who do Japan's 23,000 centenarians respect today? Maybe themselves. Today all new centenarians are presented with a silver cup and a certificate.

The number of centenarians in Japan will total a record 23,038 by the end of this month, surpassing last year's previous high by more than 2,000, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Tuesday.

The centenarian population has posted a 150-fold rise since the government began compiling the statistics in 1963, when the number of centenarians stood at only 153, the ministry said. Women continue to make up the vast majority of the cohort, accounting for 84.7%. (Kyodo News)

Where there more babies than usual in 1904? Maybe so; Japan was winning the Russo-Japanese War. Or did these 2000+ new centenarians lead especially charmed lives? Regardless, I guess the government had to prepare a lot of gifts this year.

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