Japan is a magical place. With several high-energy metropolitan centers and nineteen World Heritage Sites, there are countless eye-popping vistas to explore. Iconic landmarks range from pedestrian packed Shibuya Crossing to beautiful seaside temple Miyajima. The culture has just as many hallmarks it exports to the world—think Hello Kitty or Japanese whiskey.

But, if asked, any resident would quickly tell you what really makes them proud of their country is the iron-will of its people. We talked recently about how hard many of them work. Indeed, if you were to follow a Japanese professional throughout their day, you’d likely see someone devoted to their duty who takes very little rest. You’d also be exhausted by the end.

So maybe its no wonder that a significant number of world record holders hail from Japan. Some titles, like oldest living female resident, are unsurprisingly straightforward. Others, however, are just as quirky as you’d come to expect from the land of the rising sun.

The Most People Dressed as Wally/Waldo

Do you remember the final scene from The Great Waldo Search? It’s called the Land of Waldos, and on it readers must find the true Waldo amid 1000 lookalikes. In real life, it looks a lot like this:

In 2017, the good people of Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park in Nagasaki, gathered 4,626 people dressed like Wally. Participants were required to wear the iconic red and white bobble hat, glasses, and, of course, a red and white striped shirt.

The organizers were apparently pretty proud of their efforts, shedding a few tears while cheering with the crowd. They smashed the previous record of 3,872 lookalikes at the Street Performance World Championship in Ireland.

The Oldest Man/Woman

As many know, Japan has one of the longest living populations. Although this fact leads to untenable population dynamics, it does speak to the healthy habits of many residents.

And until 2013, one Japanese resident born in the 19th century still lived among them. A supercentenarian, Jiroemon Kimura lived to be 116. He became the oldest verified male in 2012, although, at that time, he had already been the oldest living male since 2009. In 2013, he passed away in his hometown of Kyotango in Japan.

Kane Tanaka, on the other hand, is currently the oldest living female in the world. Born in Kyushu in 1903, she has seen two world wars and the economic transformation of her country. She is currently 117 years old, but not yet the oldest women to have ever lived. That record is held by a French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 122.

The Most People Sitting on One Chair

Tight quarters are absolutely the norm in Japan. Whatever the reason, it seems residents never want to be too far from one another. Take a look at this 2015 tweet by Asahi Shimbun to see what I mean:

”In Yamagata city on the 22nd, residents formed a ‘human chair’ challenging the world record. 1831 participants, from the age of 10 to 87, gathered and the bid was successful. The previous official record had been for 1666 people who sat together in 2013 in Macau, China.”

The people of Yamagata city in Gifu gathered at a local school. All told, 1,831 people managed to successfully sit on a single chair. According to a city official, one man sat on a chair and everyone in front of him sat on the lap of the person behind them.

By - Luke Mahoney.