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SILVER-HAIRED CENTENARIAN TWINS ROCKET TO STARDOM IN JAPAN BY LAUGHING IN TV AD

Kin and Gin, silver-haired identical twin sisters, have enraptured Japan just by sitting on cushions and laughing in a TV ad.

Despite the reputation Japan shares with other Asian countries for revering the aged, the elderly seldom gain the respect accorded sports stars and pop singers.But the popularity of Kin and Gin shows a growing nostalgia for the traditional Japan of close-knit, extended families.

The sisters were born on Aug. 1, 1892, but say they're already 100 years old because babies in Japan then were considered a year old at birth.

Kin Narita and Gin Kanie have lived quiet, humble lives, farming and raising 16 children between them, until they appeared in a recent television special on Respect the Aged Day.

Now the mirthful, kimono-clad great-grandmothers appear on TV almost daily. Last week they released their first cassette disc - adding their own "hai, hai's" (yes, yes) to a collection of nursery songs sung by toddlers.

Their popularity took off when an Osaka-based doormat maker hired them for a television commercial.