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Second life begins at 60

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Hiroshi Ogasawara, 68, retired at 60 after 38 years with a trading company and thought, “What now?” Should he look for another job? That was one possibility, but a little research at a Hello Work job center established that even if he found something, his earnings above a certain minimum would reduce his pension, so what was the point?

“So I thought,” he tells Shukan Shincho (Dec 30 – Jan 6), “never mind money, I’ll just do what I want to do.”

He’d always loved movies and theater, had once dreamed of being an actor, but such dreams are for the pre-responsible young... or – why not? – for the post-responsible elderly, it suddenly occurred to him. With growing excitement he located a company that engages movie extras. And that’s been his life ever since – his “second life,” you might say.

Second life begins at 60, Shukan Shincho proclaims, and profiles people who prove it. Aging needn’t be the grim business it is generally made out to be. It can be, and increasingly is in this country struggling to cope with a demographic aging outpacing anything the world has ever yet seen, a fulfillment of all those youthful dreams and ambitions that got sidetracked in the compulsive rush up the career ladder.

At first, Ogasawara found it hard to be cast as anything other than a body in a crowd scene. He stuck with it, though, and in time stumbled on bigger parts. He’s played a homeless man and a company president, a coal miner and a fortune teller – “roles I never even came close to in real life.”

It’s not all roses – filming ads for winter clothes in mid-summer heat is no picnic, for instance, and the pay, maybe 100,000 yen for a month’s toil, is hardly princely. But imagining being 68 and waking up wondering who you’re going to be today. It seems a source of stimulation worth tapping.

There are as many second lifestyles as there are individuals, Shukan Shincho says. Tetsuo Wakasugi, 63, played guitar in a college band once upon a time. He graduated and went to work for Sony Music, but office work is office work, and music, the company name notwithstanding, is remote from it. Retiring three years ago, he retuned his guitar and now plays regularly at a Tokyo live house, feeling like a kid again with his whole future ahead of him, when he is onstage.

Akira Sugita, 83, retired at 75 and began attending drama lessons. His fellow students were fellow retirees, “brimming with enthusiasm.” A few years ago they formed an amateur acting company. With 21 members each kicking in YY4000 a month, they were able to hire a professional actor as leader. Once a year they perform at their home base near Kyoto; last October they appeared on Broadway. The English lines were difficult, Sugita admits, but somehow they managed.

Which just goes to show – aging might actually be something to look forward to.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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good for the man............ I joined the Army at 60 and volunteered to go down range at 62

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that is because most salalryman are just sleep walking through their years between 22-60....it is like they wake up after they retire....so grateful I am not a salaryman!

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joined the Army at 60 and volunteered to go down range at 62

is that possible to join the army when you'er already 60???????????

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sure, if you are a health care provider and in reasonable health ( physical, not so much psychological )

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I would like to find someone to pay my mortgage until I am 76. How can people survive on the pensions here?

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a little research at a Hello Work job center established that even if he found something, his earnings above a certain minimum would reduce his pension, so what was the point?

Best argument I've read to get rid of the pension system. Whenever people are encouraged not to contribute to society, you know something is really messed up.

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"Second life begins at 60"

Sounds good to me.

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I thought this was about a 60 year old man getting addicted to "Second Life", the game.

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So why he did not try the actor path when he was on his 20s?

most salalryman are just sleep walking through their years between 22-60...

This, pretty much.

I find a bit sad that most of salaryman types give up on life when they start working.

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I find a bit sad that most of salaryman types give up on life when they start working

.

What an insipid statement. People - women and men- in EVERY country (Britain, France, Russia, Thailand, US, China ) HAVE to work to live . Work pushes many enjoyable passtimes to the side. .and for the most part "the system' people work and function in defines their lives because they have families, homes, and lives that require MONEY . That includes people like you, as well . KUDOS TO THE JAPANESE WHO ARE SHOwING THAT AGING CAN BE FUN, FRUITFUL, EXCITING,SEXY , FULFILLING & SELF ACTUALIZING! ! !

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What an insipid statement. People - women and men- in EVERY country (Britain, France, Russia, Thailand, US, China ) HAVE to work to live . Work pushes many enjoyable passtimes to the side. .and for the most part "the system' people work and function in defines their lives because they have families, homes, and lives that require MONEY . That includes people like you, as well . KUDOS TO THE JAPANESE WHO ARE SHOwING THAT AGING CAN BE FUN, FRUITFUL, EXCITING,SEXY , FULFILLING & SELF ACTUALIZING! ! !

You don't live in Japan right?

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U can join the army when u're even over 60. U might not be a foot soldier though.....

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If semperfi lives in Japan or not, it really doesn't matter, he/she's right. People have families and other stuff and they require MONEY. And if you live in Japan and walk around the mall you'll see X-mas lights and elementary school bag-packs ranging between 20,000 and 60,000 yen. Take it from there and you'll understand why most, while not all of them "live to work until retirement".

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Semperfi,

Man you are so so so so WRONGGGGG! Way too many in Jpn have very little of what I wud call a life, hell my brothers kids have done more & enjoy life more before they hit 16 then many of my friends in Jpn here that are in their 40-60s.

Happy this guy has found something after being a slave but far too many are so far gone they cant figure anything out after work sadly.

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60 is not old, I know many still alive and kicking a*s at that age... If different, they seem more genki than nowadays "under-30" keitai addicted drones...

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Second life begins at 60??? I hope that my third life will begin then.

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Best argument I've read to get rid of the pension system. Whenever people are encouraged not to contribute to society, you know something is really messed up.

What is it with you right-wingers!? You REALLY HATE the idea that old people can like relax and not work. Like everyone must WORK until they die?! Really? Or the myth that we can actually SAVE enough money for us to live on for 10 years? Or five? Do you all really believe this? If you need to 200,000 yen a month, then try saving at least 50,000 a month. Set it aside. Then after a year, do you have? Not much! A few months. Then do that for 20 years. Yeh, looking grim if you retire at 60. THAT is why we have a pension system because it is darn hard for a carpenter, for example, on a flippin WALKER to find work. Ain't going to happen, and for us liberals we just find it difficult to have LEGIONS of old people outside begging and dying in the streets by the millions.

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the rat,

I think that poster was pointing out that the damned pension sysyem wud CUT his pension if he dared to work a bit, ie if yr retired & rec a pension but want to do a bit of work you get heavily penalized.

Nothing right wing that I can see, but rather a cold system that wants its pensioners to make do on a little tiny pension rather than try to do a little something for themselves in old age

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To me it is no wonder that people who are used to work in Japan for 60 years would try what they can to find a job again. But my question is : "Why do so many young people leave Japan? What must be done to make it attractive for them to work in a Japanese company?" Many who got used to work in overseas companies do not want to work in Japanese companies again.

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