Hinadan: How did the 82-year-old find a new hire to develop mobile applications?


"It was easy because I have no one to worry about whether this is good or bad," said 83-year-old Masako Wakamiya, who built her first mobile application. In 2017, the Hinadan game was launched for older users.

The lack of interference should focus solely on programming and overcoming the steep learning curve, not only in software development, but also in unexpected language barriers.

"Everything was in English," said Wakamiya. Error messages, web guides and emails, and other communication with Apple about her game in the App Store were in a foreign language. "People of my generation have problems with English and it was difficult."

Wakamiya bought her first computer as she approached the 60's – mostly because she looked after her old mothers.

"I felt as if my gaze had expanded. I was happy to know that the world is much bigger, with different people," she said.

In Japan, a "super-old" nation, where every fourth person is over 65, Wakamiya said he hopes other older people will become acquainted with the potential benefits of technology, especially when it comes to building new connections and combating loneliness the isolation that many older people in Japan face.

"When I discovered how good it was, I thought I should tell this to people of my generation. Then I opened a kind of PC salon in my house and started teaching people from my generation," she said.

Eventually, Wakamiya began traveling around the world to share his story – he spoke to TEDxTokyo, where he met Apple CEO Cooka Cooka and spoke to the United Nations.

"I was wondering if the opinions of such an old person, like me, could be accepted by people, mostly young men in the TED, but they were greeted with warm applause," she said. "They showed compassion regardless of their generation, nationality or gender – I moved."

Masako Wakamiya speaks with Apple's CEO Tim Cook at an event in San Francisco in 2017.

Wakamiya uses what is called "Excel art" to extend its message of hope, using the Microsoft application for spreadsheets to design models that it even transformed into clothing and crafts.

"Excel can be meaningless to older people like me, and then I thought of a fun idea that can be done by those in my generation, in Japan and abroad – like knitting or art and crafts," explains. "For example," the pattern of knitting can be expressed and simulated with Excel and let people feel familiar. "

For Wakamiyo, the use of technology has led to new creative assets between generations. Through her achievement, she also wants to encourage young people to find their voice.

"I want to stay creative and I want kids to be creative. I always tell them to create something and think innovative … you always have to have your own opinions and methods," she said. "I believe that the elders in Japan … want to improve. They are the best because they seriously think about their age."

Wakamiya now says that her life has begun at the age of 60 and is impressed by what is yet to come.

"They count me for a positive person and I do what I like, even after I'm old," she said. "Some people deny the reality of aging, but this is like a competition with the western sun and it seems to me to be tiring."

Instead of fighting her, she said she would "rather sit at the sun and enjoy the sunset."


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