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Dundee triplets open exam results together before heading on their own university paths

Harris Academy leavers Asto, Leona and Eugene Tanaka were among more than 3,000 city teens to learn their grades.

Dundee triplets receive their exam results by text
Asto (left) and Eugene (right) as Leona reads her exam results. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

Dundee triplets Leona, Eugene and Asto Tanaka have shared all life’s special moments together – including receiving their exam results.

They were among over 3,000 city teenagers to learn their grades from the Scottish Qualifications Authority on Tuesday.

And excellent Higher and Advanced Higher results mean all three former Harris Academy pupils will now head their separate ways to different universities.

Leona’s straight As – three at Advanced Higher and one at Higher level – have earned her a place to study medicine at Dundee University.

Asto has secured a place at St Andrews University, also studying medicine, while Eugene is bound for Edinburgh University to study computer science.

But for a last minute change of heart all three, aged 18, were going to study medicine, as Eugene too had been offered a place for the subject.

Dundee triplets as they receive exam results together
Asto, Leona and Eugene will go their separate ways to university after a childhood together. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

Leona was first to receive her results by text message and said: “I was quite surprised because I thought I would do quite badly in Advanced Higher biology.

“So I was really pleased when I saw all the As.

“We all worked really hard, so whatever our results were we were going to be happy.”

Eugene and Asto were kept waiting before their results arrived later in the day, and decided to keep their grades to themselves.

As triplets, Asto said the siblings were there for each other throughout school, first at Blackness Primary School.

They celebrated the end of their school days together at Harris Academy leavers’ prom in June.

Asto, Leona and Eugene at their leavers’ prom. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

And that backing for each other continued as they waited anxiously for SQA exam results day.

Now the three are looking ahead to following their own paths.

Eugene will move out of the family home to Edinburgh. He said: “I am kind of excited. I’ve never really had my own room or lived alone, ever. But I’ll probably be back home a lot.”

More on SQA exam results day 2023

Asto will soon begin student life in St Andrews. He said: “In some parts of school I have relied on Eugene and Leona’s help so heading off in a different direction is a little bit worrying, but I hope I will get used to it as soon as possible.”

He will remain at the family home with Leona, who is eager to start at Dundee University, their parents and their chihuahua Momo.

Family inspiration for medicine careers

Leona said: “Now it’s getting close I’m realising how sad I am that Eugene has to move away to Edinburgh.

“There’s something nice about having the three of us together.”

Although their professor father Tomoyuki was a doctor in Japan before becoming a biomedical life sciences researcher at Dundee University, the triplets said it was their proud mum Keiko who inspired their interest in medicine.

She is disabled and suffered depression after the triplets were born in Japan in 2005.

The family moved to Dundee when Eugene, Asto and Leona were 11 months old.

From left, Eugene, Asto and Leona before they left Japan when they were 11-months-old. Image: supplied.

Leona explained: “She’s been disabled for a long time and she also had depression when we were younger.

“For a few months she would have a bad episode, then she would be ok, then dip back down again.

“We weren’t fully aware but we did see that when we were younger and I got quite curious, why is my mum always in bed, why can’t she do anything?”

The triplets with mum Keiko and dog Momo. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

Seeing how their mother was treated by the NHS, including with medication and therapy, intrigued them, Leona said.

Thankfully Keiko has fully recovered from her depression and is delighted to see her children’s futures expanding and the new experiences that lie ahead.