It’s a name you can count on.

Human achievement comes in many different forms, from pulling tissues out of their box with lightning speed or crushing various objects with ones butt such as walnuts or balloons. All world-record holders are deserving of our praise and admiration, so whenever you hear the name “Hirokazu Tanaka” be sure to tell them “good job”.

The good news is that it doesn’t even matter which Hirokazu Tanaka you encounter because chances are they’ll have been one of the 178 Hirokazu Tanakas who broke the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of people with the same first and last name.

▼ News footage of the new record

On 29 October, 178 people named Hirokazu Tanaka met in Tokyo’s Shibuya district from different walks of life to celebrate their shared name. Hirokazu Tanakas as young a three and as old as 80 gathered, and 32-year-old Hirokazu Tanaka who came all the way from Hanoi, Vietnam told media, “It’s a very strange feeling. I’m overwhelmed.”

The event was organized by 53-year-old Hirokazu Tanaka of Tokyo. This was his third attempt at breaking the record with the first taking place in 2011 and the second in 2017. His goal was to beat the record set in 2005 by 164 people named Martha Stewart in the USA.

In Japanese, it’s possible for people to have names that are phonetically identical but represented by different kanji characters. For example, here are ten different ways to write “Watanabe.”

Image: © SoraNews24

The first two times Hirokazu Tanaka has attempted to gather people with the same kanji characters, but this time he widened the search to anyone with the same pronunciation. The move proved successful and pushed them over the top. Hirokazu Tanaka said of the achievement, “I was able to set a ridiculous example of being the best in the world, just by showing up.”

Hirokazu Tanaka is just being modest, however, not mentioning the hard work that went into this record breaking gathering. He founded The Same Name Association of Hirokazu Tanakas which aims to raise awareness of how people can become friends by something as trivial as having the same name. He then worked hard to reach out to other Hirokazu Tanakas, including by taking out ads in major national newspapers.

▼ Having been born in 2019, this Hirokazu Tanaka is a new addition to the lineup

He then had to make sure everyone stayed in the designated movie theatre for at least five minutes for the record to be made official. There everyone gave each other nicknames to help distinguish “Doctor Hirokazu Tanaka” from “Al Allijo Hirokazu Tanaka” who likes to eat al allijo. It’s unclear whether famed Nintendo composer Hirokazu “Chip” Tanaka was among those in attendance at this event but it’s likely as he is a confirmed member of The Same Name Association of Hirokazu Tanakas.

▼ Pictured left to right: Composer Hirokazu “Chip” Tanaka, Kind of Secretary Hirokazu Tanaka, Record Hirokazu Tanaka, Shibuya Hirokazu Tanaka, WEB Hirokazu Tanaka, Stop Stop Hirokazu Tanaka, Social Worker Hirokazu Tanaka, Movie Hirokazu Tanaka, Science Hirokazu Tanaka, Laser Hirokazu Tanaka, and Engineer Hirokazu Tanaka

▼ The above photo was taken at the recording of the “Hirokazu Tanaka Song”

Judging by The Same Name Association of Hirokazu Tanakas website, they aren’t stopping with this record. With any luck they will continue to hold events such as seminars to promote friendship and understanding and maybe even grow large enough to break their own record if there are any Hirokazu Tanakas left out there.

It’s all very inspiring and makes us wonder how many Hidenori Satos there might be in Japan too. Maybe we can give Hirokazu Tanakas a run for their money.

Source: Guinness World Records, Tanaka Hirokazu Association of the General Association, @PressAsahi Shimbun
Images: @Press (Unless otherwise noted)
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