Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


The return of youth

The latest innovation to come from Japan is the recategorizing of those under 75 as “pre-old.”

Japan is by far the world’s oldest nation, with more than 29% of the population 65 or older, compared with 17% in the U.S. and 21% in Europe. Efforts to get younger have gone nowhere. The birthrate is still falling and immigration has nearly ground to a halt with Covid-19.

Linguistically, however, Japan is at the forefront of change. Millions of people have learned they no longer are old, but merely “pre-old.”

That is the terminology suggested by both the Japan Gerontological Society and the Japan Geriatrics Society, which say the 65-to-74 range now should be called “pre-old age.” The government says the idea is worth looking at and has modified its annual White Paper on the Elderly to make clear it isn’t necessarily calling people in their 60s elderly.

Wall Street Journal, 9/24/21

I could not have been more delighted to learn of this yesterday.

No, I’m nowhere near 75, but if the people in their 60s and 70s just got recast as younger, then clearly I did as well. I’m now pre-pre-old.

I’m read to embrace my younger status.

  • Maybe I’ll re-engage with the club scene. (I’ve been away for some time.)
  • Or I could become a social-media influencer. Or finally get onto “League of Legends.”
  • Improve my workout for consideration in the latest “Baywatch” revamp.
  • And for God’s sake: Stop reading Henry James!

2 Responses to “The return of youth”

  1. Adrian Says:

    “Good and bad, I define these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow
    Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now”
    I could go on but then I’m no longer one of those old men who go on. And on. And on. Oh, wait, perhaps I am.

    Fine post Lee.

  2. Dan Says:

    Ah yes! At 71 I can now begin to faintly discern the far-off lights from the distant foothills of early pre-old age!

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