Highlighting JAPAN Vol.124 September 2018
13and learning’ groups.” Yamaoka also indicates that many new types of businesses aimed at seniors are likely to emerge as other industries learn more about the values and intentions of seniors.In another decade, those in their sixties will already be using the Internet and smartphones to look up information. “Right now most seniors still use travel agencies to book their trips, but the next generation will be able to research transportation and accommodations on their own and travel freely wherever they want,” Yamaoka observes. “I think we’ll see a completely new type of senior emerge.”to a third of Japan’s population, and their ranks are growing, so who can say how their influence Yamaoka adds that those in their sixties and seventies are still changing and growing. “If we run a feature on the basics of using a smartphone, we’ll get a ton of letters saying ‘I learned how to use one,’ ” she explains. “Based on this, it’s clear that even though many seniors really can’t handle new challenges, they do have the flexibility to grasp something if they get past the initial hurdle. And when we announced that we were seeking models for the magazine, we received so many applications from people saying ‘I wanted to try this out once,’ and we realized all over again how many people care about fashion and beauty. The nature of people’s interests naturally varies, but if the impetus is there, there are countless ways seniors can take action.” Seniors already represent close Targeting active seniors, the magazine includes articles about howto use smartphones and make the most of your pensionYamaoka discussing the future of Japanese societywill change Japanese society? “I hope that the knowledge and experience seniors have cultivated can be used to support the younger generations and make society mutually beneficial,” Yamaoka says. “In terms of raising children, family support center projects in several municipalities are matching seniors with families raising children in the same area. Seniors feel that they’re useful and have a sense of purpose, while the younger generation can have an easier life thanks to their help. I think this will enrich society.” In Japan, the country with the world’s largest percentage of aging citizens, a shift is beginning toward a society where seniors can enjoy different lifestyles and use their abilities no matter their age. This will bring about an era in which all generations can have easier lives, and perhaps set an example of longevity—a “100-year life society”—for the world.