8 Child Prodigies So Amazing They'll Ruin Your Day

#4. Okita Soji

Okita Soji, who lived in mid-1800s Japan, is a bit different than the rest of the names found in this article. While the other people listed here were remarkable because of their mental abilities, Okita Soji was a prodigy at kicking ass. When most of us were still struggling with cutting our own meat, Okita began learning advanced sword fighting techniques at age 9 and at the age of 12 he defeated a master swordsman in combat (legend has it he underestimated his young opponent, spending most of the battle pretending to steal Okita's nose).

Okita would officially become a master himself at age 18 and then become a founding member of the Shinsengumi, a legendary police force featured in TV, movies, comic books and video games in Japan to this day. While most of the guys on this list will make you feel stupid, Okita Soji isn't content unless he makes you feel like less of a man.

What we were doing at that age:
Our skill at beating on our siblings with cardboard tubes was legendary.

#3. Kim Ung-yong

This Korean super-genius might just be the smartest guy alive today (he's recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the highest IQ of anyone on the planet). Granted his record doesn't quite have the cachet of other Guinness records like "World's longest midget toss" or "Oldest male stripper", but it's still fairly impressive.

Kim entered university as a physics student at the age of three. We're not sure how many parties he got invited to at that age, but word has it nobody shotguns a juice-box like Kim Ung-yong. Later at the ripe old age of seven, Kim was invited to the United States by NASA to study, although to be honest we're guessing he was invited because they suspected him of being an alien.

What we were doing at that age:
Research on what different stuff does when you put it in the microwave began (a study that continues to this day).

#2. Gregory Smith

Born in 1990, Gregory Smith could read at age two and had enrolled in university at 10. Yeah, we know what you're thinking, "So what? Enrolling in college before the age of 12 doesn't impress us anymore! Hell, compared to that Kim Ung-yong you just mentioned this Greg Smith kid seems like a bit of a dumbass."

So what makes Gregory Smith special enough to earn the prestige of being mentioned in a Cracked article?

Well, research shows that a lot of child prodigies are, to put it delicately, dicks. They tend to either know they're awesome and aren't afraid to flaunt it, or they're anti-social weirdos. Greg Smith, however, actually decided to put his intelligence towards the betterment of his fellow man though, founding an advocacy group for peace and children's rights.

Gregory may or may not be from the Village of the Damned

He met with Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev, spoke in front of the UN and was nominated in 2002 for the friggin' Nobel Peace Prize. Sadly he was beaten out for the honor by Jimmy Carter, possibly because of the final round where the contestants have to wrestle.

What we were doing at that age:
We dutifully sold candy bars to raise money for some damned cause or other, mostly by having Mom sell them at the office.

#1. Pablo Picasso

The popular image of Picasso (who's full name was, seriously, Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso) is of the artist in his later years when Picasso was a lovable mistress-hopping misogynist who created art so filthy it would make a construction worker blush. Well, assuming you could make out what was going on.

Picasso made art for most of his 91-year lifespan, and he got an early start. His artistic endeavors had to be briefly delayed until he learned to talk, but once that little hassle was out of the way he immediately insisted his father hand over his brushes and teach him to paint, and nobody says no to Picasso (a fact many a model in her early-20s would learn in later years).

Before the age of 12, Picasso had a total grasp of the fundamentals of art and was producing photo-realistic anatomical sketches, and in his teens he was already considered to be a mature artist who was producing significant works. In an ironic twist considering his amazing abilities as a youngster, as an old man Picasso largely took to drawing child-like pictures, often in crayon. But hey, he was Picasso, he could have taken to finger-painting in pudding and the pictures would still be selling for millions today.

Picasso's famous Kiss My Ass, I'm Picasso (1972)

What we were doing at that age:
The latest triumph in our "Turkeys made from tracings of our hands" series was on display at the prestigious Frigidaire gallery.

Nathan Birch also writes the blindingly intelligent webcomic Zoology.

If you liked that you'll probably enjoy our look at 5 Famous Inventors (Who Stole Their Big Idea). And don't forget to find out why The Mad Lib Answering Machine only sounds like a good idea. Or head to the brand new Official Cracked.com Store and become a startlingly attractive walking advertisement for our site.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!