Japan’s population is aging at an accelerated pace, so it’s no surprise that the country now has its own old boy band, with members aged between 65 and 87.
G-Pop, a play on the Japanese word ‘Ojii-san’ for ‘old man’, is not your average boy band. J-Pop and K-Pop groups like most other boy bands, are primarily aimed at teenagers and young adults so the usual recipe for success is finding good-looking young men who can also dance and maybe have some sort of musical talent. G-Pop, on the other hand, is targeting Japan’s older population, so they are actually old men in their 60s through 80s. The Kochi Prefecture-based music troupe made its professional debut seven years ago, it’s been busy putting a positive spin on the country’s rapidly aging population ever since.
Universal Studios Japan reportedly signed G-Pop soon after the group’s debut, and the band’s two most successful singles, ‘Hooray to Old Age’ and ‘I Was Young’, got hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube alone and attracted a lot of media attention. Sadly, just when they were about to pop-off, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the five elderly members had no choice but to go on hiatus.
“We kept in touch with each other by cellphone even during the pandemic to make sure we were fine so that we could come back anytime,” group leader Noriyasu Tanioka, said.
Now the geriatric boyband is back in the public eye, performing at events in Kochi Prefecture, which has the second-highest number of people aged over 65 in Japan, and shooting music videos dressed in the Sunday best – white suits, fedora hats, and slick sunglasses.
Described by their record label as “ordinary grandpas usually working as fishermen or Bamboo Union heads,” the 5 G-Pop members are all very energetic, despite the group’s average age of 74, and welcome the challenge of changing people’s opinions about aging.