Author rejects norms of older people

He believes in love’s rejuvenating power and the concept of ‘slow love’ for the elderly.

74 year old, veteran novelist Junichi Watanabe says that he wants to be free from the constraints of age, keep his curiosity about various things and pursue his interests. In other words, he wants to be “a dandy and an errant guy.”

Watanabe is sceptical about many long-held concepts of older people, who are supposed to follow social norms and live quietly indoors. Such a way of life is too ordinary and dull for him. “I want to be free from the constraints of age, and keep my curiosity about various things and pursue my interests. I praise everyone, including myself, and want to be a dandy and an errant guy.”

He recommends that people resist the ageing process, while becoming a dandy and a bit “bad.” With a conviction that people can do anything they want as long as they do not cause trouble to those around them, he believes that the unconventional “platinum generation” can invigorate other generations.

Most men feel anxious about losing their place in society as they lose their place at work along with their income and status upon retirement. But retirement can also greatly affect their wives, and sometimes their daughters, who may have to deal with them at home every day.

“In the story, the wife plans revenge on her husband, who has been a male chauvinist. It is a matter of course for men to be worried about life after retirement. However, since they cannot avoid it, they had better think positively that retirement is the start of their second life. In order to think that way, both husbands and wives should have confidence in themselves and praise each other.”

Watanabe argues that “Japanese men need to learn to say ‘You are beautiful’ to women, particularly to their wives. They don’t have to say it from the bottom of their heart, but the phrase is magical and can make both men and women happy.”

He urges husbands to love their wives and accept the fact that they are no longer in a position to claim superiority at home as the chief breadwinner.

Arguing that it is not good to suppress one’s desires, he encourages people to pursue whatever they want, be it love, sports, leisure or hobbies. He cites a medical term, “disuse atrophy,” which refers to the loss of muscle strength due to prolonged immobility. That condition can also occur to the brain and any other part of the body and doing nothing makes people look older than their real age. Falling in love helps increase blood flow and activates hormones – in short, love rejuvenates people.

“It is often said that people become more stubborn as they age. But love is self-revolution, making people suit themselves to their love interest. The target can be nonhuman such as a job or hobby. Whatever it is, people pursuing what they want are beautiful.”

Watanabe flatly dismisses the widespread perception that the elderly have no sexual desire. It is true that older people have weaker sexual yearnings with the waning of their physical strength, Watanabe admits, but they still have an interest in the opposite sex. He stresses the importance of what he calls “slow love” – tender contact such as comforting words or holding hands.

Ya just gotta love this guy.


just gotta love this guy.