lifestyle

Japan’s oldest McDonald’s worker defies age barriers, inspires everyone at the age of 93

21 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

McDonald’s has roughly 2,900 branches throughout Japan, and thousands of employees flipping burgers and delivering smiles for fast food lovers around the nation.

Out of all the workers on the books, however, there’s one who stands out as a shining beacon of inspiration for people everywhere. His name is Yoshimitsu Yabuta, and he can be found working at the Takaoka Ekinan branch in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture.

What makes Yabuta so special is the fact that he’s the oldest McDonald’s worker in Japan. So how old is he? Well, he’s 93 years old.

Yabuta recently came to everyone’s attention when McDonald’s set up a special site acknowledging some of their most notable locations for the chain’s 50th anniversary in Japan. In amongst mentions for the store with the highest altitude — Karuizawa in Nagano, at 912 meters — and the branch with the most beautiful ocean view — Miura Kaigan in Kanagawa — was a hat-tip to the store with the oldest crew member, which thrust Yabuta into the spotlight overnight.

▼ The McDonald’s branch where Yabuta works is also the store with the widest age range of employees in Japan.

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Yabuta started working as a part-time employee at the store in 2019, when he was 90 years old. He says he applied for the job when he happened to see an ad for part-time work at the store, as he wanted to do something to make use of his spare time.

The job attracted him as this branch of McDonald’s is open 24 hours a day, meaning he could work night shifts, which he was used to, given his previous experience as a late-night staff member at an arcade, a job he took up after retiring as an electrician.

Yabuta now works five-hour shifts four nights a week, and while he was in charge of cleaning tables at first, he’s now also responsible for making side-menu meals like salads. Even when he’s not working, he often comes in during the day to buy drinks and fries, and enjoys chatting to other “silver generation” crew members when they have their breaks.

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The 36-year-old manager of the branch, Kyohei Imoto, publicly praised Yabuta for his work, saying he helps to maintain a high level of cleanliness at the store, and ensures that preparations for the morning shift run smoothly.

Yabuta is said to be an inspiration to his fellow colleagues, the youngest of whom is just 15, with one co-worker saying he now feels people can take on any challenge at any age.

The spritely 93-year-old says he likes working, and his secret to good health is “hydration and physical activity”. He says he wants to continue working while his body is still able, and McDonald’s customers around the country, whose hearts have been warmed by his story, also hope he can continue working for many more years to come.

Perhaps next time the company sits down to create their next heartwarming ad for the chain starring a senior citizen, Yabuta will be able to make an appearance…without any digital effects to make him look younger than usual.

Source: McDonald’s Japan via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Anime McDonald’s looks like an awesome place to work part-time 【Video】

-- Why does McDonald’s Japan sell more Filet-O-Fish when it rains?

-- Japan now has over 40,000 foreign convenience store clerks as it continues to internationalize

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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If only he retired and have had a nice quiet life, his job could have been huge help for young jobless person to feed his/her family.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Yabuta is said to be an inspiration to his fellow colleagues, the youngest of whom is just 15, with one co-worker saying he now feels people can take on any challenge at any age.

Recently you see many "heartwarming" stories like this, that are actually pretty dystopian and indicative of this late stage capitalist system. Keeping active in advanced age is great, but you can think of so many more rewarding things he could be doing.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

“Can’t keep a good man (or woman) down!” - If the elderly want to continue to work, by all means, let them. It keep businesses fully staffed during the ‘less appealing hours’, supplements their meager pensions and keeps their brains and bodies active while providing some camaraderie with younger people in the absence of their grown children elsewhere.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

I’m not a McDonalds customer, but if Mr Yabuta is not only still working there at the age of 93 but also popping in most days for fries and Coke, they’re going to start using him in a “McDonalds is good for you” health campaign soon.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

To quote the post-Lionel Ritchie Commodores.

Gonna be a long night, it's gonna be all right, on the nightshift

If I can still digest a McDonalds when I'm 93, never mind work there, I'll be well chuffed.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Working in Maccers at 92. What a way to go...

4 ( +7 / -3 )

there’s one who stands out as a shining beacon of inspiration for people everywhere.

I don't by any means wish to throw shade on Mr. Yabuta, but a story about a 93 year old who has to clean tables at McDonalds for minimum wage to get by strikes me as more of a cautionary tale rather than a story of a "shining beacon of inspiration for people everywhere."

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

I...find this more depressing than inspirational, honestly.

I get wanting to be active post-retirement, but to do so by working for a faceless conglomerate that can't possibly care about you seems like the ultimate picture of late-stage capitalism. I can think of at least a dozen things that would be a better way to stay active.

Speculative, but I can't help but feel this is one of those cases where Japan has so conditioned somebody to work every minute of their life that they don't know how to actually retire. Maybe I am wrong and he is truly passionate about this work, but I just find that hard to believe.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Frankly speaking is really sad to see so many elderly people working instead of enjoying their retirement in parks, traveling or even engaging in social work as volunteers. The truth is that they need to work to get extra money as pension may not cover their needs.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I've known many people who keep working well after retirement. It's not about the money, but socializing amongst many other things.

Many basic concepts of life and living are lost on many people here.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

i guess guys pension not so high so yes any extra coin helps plsu he is japanese means work work work,cant imagine different life just work...so different than me,sure will be busy with plans when retired but mcdonalds baito is not included in any case...feel sorry abt old fella.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Reminds me of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_u7KftpnQQ

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't by any means wish to throw shade on Mr. Yabuta, but a story about a 93 year old who has to clean tables at McDonalds for minimum wage to get by strikes me as more of a cautionary tale

We don,t know he goes there to work to "get by"...there are some retired people who still have a lot of energy and desire for social interaction and prefer things like this to sitting at home in front of a TV with a can of chuuhai all day as lots of retired salarymen here do. The fact he hangs out at the store even on his free days to have a chat with the other staff would suggest he is probably a single, spritely 90 year old who enjoys being around other people. Everyone is free to do what they like for as long as they like.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If that's what he wants to do, fair enough. How is this inspiring though? Does he inspire others to take up minimum-wage jobs at one of the world's largest exploitative companies? Or does he motivate people to not enjoy their retirement with anything else than work?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

He's a very good inspiration for us to keep going with life.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I used to feel sorry for people like him.

Now I envy them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

My JP pension is great, but I prefer my monthly travel adventures. People here, well most of them assume his pension is bad. How can you assume that?

He could even be loaded like many of us.

From what I view here is that showing he goes in on his days off, he just wants to stay busy and socialize and finds meaning in it. I don’t know but bet this graceful elderly genki man has already done all his retirement travels and decided to settle down. Perhaps his wife passed recently, and at that age his grand children are well along into adult hood.

Seems like a Col guy to sit down with and chat.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Well he does what he wants but if that success and love of work in life means to smell fried food, what to think about giving your time to help people in need for real and show younger ones that you can grow in life to better standings.

If that is socializing, he should know they are zillions of ways to socialize without being held by a leash.

At least he allows me to pay a fair price when I eat at Mcdonalds.

Japanese social status system has not changed for some but you can't blame the old mister to like it and endure it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

AddfwynSep. 7  10:08 am JST

I...find this more depressing than inspirational, honestly.

I get wanting to be active post-retirement, but to do so by working for a faceless conglomerate that can't possibly care about you seems like the ultimate picture of late-stage capitalism. I can think of at least a dozen things that would be a better way to stay active.

Speculative, but I can't help but feel this is one of those cases where Japan has so conditioned somebody to work every minute of their life that they don't know how to actually retire. Maybe I am wrong and he is truly passionate about this work, but I just find that hard to believe.

I find it very depressing indeed. Many retired folks go to college to get another degree in anythng just for kicks, or they join fraternal organizations or they do what I enjoy a lot -TRAVEL. Travelling, exploring - you can keep on learning all the time. It doesn't end at HS and it shouldn't.

Some of them pursue hobbies they didn't have time for before. Skiing, kung-fu, belly-dancing. Even Bingo could make a hell of a difference. I just can't imagine anyone being passionate about this work either, esp. after hearing from so many people I know who've done it. I've heard all about the speedy pace, the lippy sass from the supers, the Romper Room 'team talks' and other insults. Immigrants often get these jobs in America because most citizens don't want to bother. And don't get me started about Wally World (Walmart). I'd rather work for Satan than those chumps,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

On the surface this seems to be heartwarming and inspirational blah blah blah.

Actually it's an indictment on something that is horribly wrong in society.

If he's working because he needs the money to support himself, then that says a lot about the lack of support provided to the elderly.

As someone mentioned previously, many people don't know how to retire. They only know how to work.

Many people see working less as retiring.

Spending your twilight years working nightshifts at McDonalds means something, somewhere, has gone drastically wrong.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

HBJSep. 9  09:44 am JST

On the surface this seems to be heartwarming and inspirational blah blah blah.

Actually it's an indictment on something that is horribly wrong in society.

If he's working because he needs the money to support himself, then that says a lot about the lack of support provided to the elderly.

As someone mentioned previously, many people don't know how to retire. They only know how to work.

Many people see working less as retiring.

Spending your twilight years working nightshifts at McDonalds means something, somewhere, has gone drastically wrong.

Some of my retired uncles and aunts have took the initiative and gone travelling, often in groups (guided if overseas) - they go to Branson, Great Smoky Mountains, St. Louis, California, Hawaii. They take jets to Rome, Berlin, Krakow, Medigorge (sp?). One of my aunts in Kentucky has the hobby of belly-dancing. She learns from an Arab immigrant woman instructor, and it's a good way to exercise (it has no sexual overtones whatsoever).

any of these things and more can be rewarding, enriching and good for you. Working and slaving at a McJob at 93 is just plain depressing to me. It's about as bad as watching the idiot box all day and grousing about how screwed up everything is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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