Japan has an all-senior-citizen male idol group
Key details: The five-member group, known as JI-POP, the first word of which comes from the Japanese word “ojisan” (“old man” or “grandpa”), made their debut single, titled “Hooray for Old Age,” in late February 2016 to help promote Kochi Prefecture’s tourism industry.
Besides being a reference to their age, the name of the group also plays on the J-pop genre.
Meeting the members: The members of the group, who are all aged 65-87, are Norihiro Tanioka, who is known as the “City Market Sheriff”; Akira Odaka, the “Town Fisherman Director”; Iwao Yamamoto, who is the “Manufacturing Association Prez”; Yoshinori Deki, the “Shellfish-Loving Fisherman”; and Hidetada Yamada, the eldest of the group and the “Marathon Lover.”
What happened next: Universal Studios Japan reportedly signed JI-POP soon after the group’s debut single caught the record company’s attention. The male idol group released another single in 2017 titled “I Was Young,” which has a disco element to it.
JI-POP also performed around the country frequently after their discovery.
What they are saying: Tanioka, who recently told The Straits Times that he did not want people to view or treat him “like an old man,” said that because of their age, the JI-POP members can “seize new challenges by making the most of our previous experiences, rather than just sit around and grow old.”
A similar feat: A somewhat similar feat also went viral in Japan in June 2022, in which a group of Japanese men in their 50s and 60s made TikTok videos to help promote their town of Wake in Okayama Prefecture.
Facing crisis: Japan is reportedly facing a demographic crisis, as a recent study found that one in every 10 people in the country is aged 80 or older. The country also saw a record-high number of centenarians, people who are aged 100 and older. The recent tally was reportedly the country’s 53rd consecutive annual increase, which is 1,613 more than last year’s count.