Japan's world of multi-member pop idol groups has exploded in the past several years, leaving the pop music scene in a crowded frenzy with various idol groups with dancing and singing (well, not so much singing) for your attention. While it may require a Herculean effort to tell who belongs to which group, with member numbers sometimes in the 40's, there's at least one group that you can easily pick out from the crowd on stage: Jiji-Pop, an idol group of elderly men with an average age of 67.4.


Source: PR Times

"Jiji" (爺) is Japanese for "old man", or even "geezer" in Japanese, and that's a fitting and affectionate title for this Grandpa Idol Group. In the surprisingly complex and sometimes gritty world of Japanese idols, it can be easy to label a group as trying to gain a competitive edge by standing out with a gimmick. Whether you feel that way or not about these elderly singers, they are at least tied to a very important topic in Japanese society: the problems of Japan's aging population.


Source: YouTube

Kochi prefecture, which is estimated to have 40% of its population be over 65 years old in 2040, has put fort a prefecture promotional campaign called the Kochi-ke ALL STARS Nippon Positive Project. You might be able to guess from the name, but JiJi-Pop is setting out to prove that getting up there in age doesn't mean the road of life's adventure is ending, and is instead embracing old age as a reason to stay positive and celebrate how far you have come in life.

Their first single, “Kōrei Banzai!” (高齢バンザイ!) or Old-Age Banzai! is just that, a celebration of life at an old age.

You don't need to understand Japanese to get the point, but the lyrics talk about the current state of Kochi--with people growing old and one in three people being 65 or over, but boasts that even so, the people are still healthy and doing fine thanks to their secret medicine for long life--the local specialties of Kochi prefecture such as bonito, yuzu, and Tosa sake.

The spirited group of elderly and dandy gentleman came together over their passion for song and dance, but have a background a bit more eclectic than your standard idols, featuring a marathon runner, a fisherman, fishing industry training institute manager, and a union president in the bamboo shoot trade. Their names are Oka Noriyasu (67), Ootaka Akira (65), Yamamoto Iwao (59), Deki Yoshinori (66), and Yamada Hidetada (80).

They're gaining fans of all ages, and with a positive message about living life to the fullest even after you've gotten up their in years, we have a feeling that they'll be sticking to the stage, and not a retirement home for quite a while longer.


Source: YouTube

By - grape Japan editorial staff.