At 81, This Japanese Woman Has Developed Her First App

Meet Masako Wakamiya, the Octogenarian app developer who is inspiring seniors and youth alike. Having self-learnt coding, she's breaking barriers in the tech world at the admirable age of 81.

Ria Das
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81-year-old Japanese woman launches her first app for iPhone

Feature Image Credit: The Next Web

In a world that often equates digital innovation with youth, Masako Wakamiya has proven that age is no barrier to creativity and technological prowess. Octogenarian Masako Wakamiya, who in her second innings, is using computers better than us, is the developer of a new app for the iPhone.


Wakamiya's remarkable odyssey began when she received her first computer at the age of 58. Instead of shying away from technology, she delved headfirst into the digital world. After a long and successful career in the banking industry spanning 43 years, she transitioned into a role as a teacher, specifically targeting senior citizens. Her mission was to empower her peers to embrace the digital revolution, which she believed held the keys to a more enriching life.

Tech Pioneer With A Late Start

The 81-year-old Japanese woman launched her very first mobile app for iOS, through which one can correctly learn how to go the proper way of staging their traditional doll displays for the Hinamatsuri festival. The Japanese call the age-old tradition of Hinamatsuri as 'Girls’ Day outside in the country'. Wakamiya used her abundant experience in the field of technology to come up with this out-of-the-box app.


Those who say older people can’t understand advanced technology should bow down to this lady who started grasping the knowledge of computers at the age of 60. Earlier, she had worked with a leading bank for 43 years.


At the age of 80, Wakamiya achieved a milestone that is nothing short of extraordinary. She developed a gaming app called 'Hinadan,' inspired by the Japanese doll festival, 'Hinamatsuri.' The game challenges players to arrange a variety of dolls correctly on a shelf, with distinctive beeps indicating correct or incorrect placements. What some might consider mundane, the elderly found captivating. Beyond mere entertainment, the app served as a tool to keep older minds sharp and open up new learning opportunities.

Quoting Wakamiya’s statement from Mashable here, “I was taught by a young person living in Sendai, northeast of Tokyo, who taught me Apple's Swift programming language via Skype and Facebook Messenger. The images in the app are made by my friend with the shapes on Microsoft Office.”


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"The reason for making this application is that many smartphone apps are for young people and are almost no apps that the elderly can enjoy," she said. "I encourage you to start having fun experiences using computers," she added.

Wakamiya also blogs (in Japanese and English languages) and shares features of her travel diaries. Through her blogs, she aims to teach people how to use Excel to make art. She was also a speaker at a TEDx talk in Tokyo, where she spoke about ‘ageing in the digital world'.

Also Read: Modern women’s relationships with their phones

Watch her TEDx Tokyo Video Here:


Wakamiya's journey has been one of continuous growth and contribution. She not only created 'Hinadan' but also garnered the attention of Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, who invited her to discuss the app's compatibility with all Apple devices. With the collaboration of younger talents, she expanded her portfolio to include Excel art tutorials, enabling senior computer users to unlock their creative potential.

In her own words, "I want to be creative. I have turned 84, and I feel I am more intelligent than before."

Masako Wakamiya embodies the spirit of lifelong learning, breaking stereotypes about what individuals can achieve as they age. Her story serves as an inspiring reminder that curiosity, adaptability, and a passion for knowledge are ageless qualities. Masako Wakamiya teaches us that no matter our stage in life, we can continue to explore, innovate, and thrive in the digital era.

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