Japan’s octogenarian DJ turns the tables on old age

Her musical tastes include rock, techno, jazz and French chansons. She wears felt hats, brightly coloured shades and spangly tops. Only one thing makes Sumiko Iwamuro stand out from the other DJs at DecabarZ, a club in the Kabukicho district of Tokyo: she is 82 years old.

In the world’s most rapidly ageing society, it was perhaps only a matter of time, but Ms Iwamuro, or DJ Sumirock, is Japan’s first professional octogenarian disc jockey.

After spending more than 50 years running a gyoza (fried dumpling) restaurant, she discovered her calling after a birthday party for her son at which she chose the music.

A French event producer was so impressed by her taste that he invited her to DJ. “He was organising an event and asked me to come,” she said. “I became very keen on [clubbing] and one night he said, ‘Sumiko, give it a try!’ and I tried.

“It was more difficult than I expected, but very amusing, so I began to learn how to do it.”

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