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Meet Masako Wakamiya, the 87-Year-Old App Developer

By Orgesta Tolaj


8 December 2023

masako wakamiya 87-year-old App Developer

© Hitachi / Youtube

How old is too old? And how come we ask this question to begin with? Well, society is definitely one of the reasons. We are taught that after a specific age, we need to retire and focus on our well-being until our very last breath. But, what happens if we are not ready to let go of the world just yet? This 87-year-old app developer shows that no matter how old you are, opportunities are waiting for you until the end. Here is what Masako Wakamiya is trying to achieve.

Masako Wakamiya, the 87-Year-Old-App Developer

Masako Wakamiya was an 82-year-old retired banker from Japan. She became frustrated with the absence of mobile games tailored for the elderly. She claims they often struggle to keep up with the fast-paced action found in games popular among younger generations. Determined to fill this void, Wakamiya embarked on a journey to learn software coding by taking online tutorials.

© Hitachi / Youtube

Expressing her motivation, Wakamiya stated, “I didn’t see any apps for the elderly, so I decided to create my own.” She first ventured into the world of computers at the age of 60. Then Wakamiya showed resilience and adaptability by getting coding skills later in life. In March, she successfully launched a game inspired by the Japanese doll festival, Hinamatsuri. This is a cultural celebration showing the health and well-being of girls.

Oldest Developer in the World

Masako Wakamiya, an 82-year-old developer, is set to become the oldest participant at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose. There she will show her free app, Hinadan. In contrast, the youngest attendee at this year’s WWDC is 10-year-old Yuma Soerianto from Melbourne, Australia. Yuma began coding at age six. Soerianto, who has created four apps in four years, including Weather Duck, shows the diversity among developers attending the conference.

Both Wakamiya and Soerianto have earned Apple’s scholarship program, aimed at promoting diversity by offering free tickets to developers worldwide, with a particular focus on motivating underrepresented groups. This year’s WWDC is noted for its increased international participation and the presence of more students from elementary, middle, and high schools, although specific numbers were not provided by Apple

What Is the App That Masako Wakamiya Developed?

In early 2017, the retired bank clerk learned to code and subsequently created a free iOS game called Hinadan, made for an older Japanese audience. The game has reached nearly 5 stars on the Apple App Store and has been downloaded approximately 53,000 times globally within its first year. The developer, now planning to expand the game to English, Chinese, and potentially French, is currently working on future versions.

© Hitachi / Youtube

The app created by Masako Wakamiya is inspired by the Japanese doll festival, Hina Matsuri, and includes arranging 12 ornamental dolls showing the emperor, family, and guests in a specific order. The game, which demands a thorough memorization of various arrangements, has gained popularity among older women who find enjoyment in playing it, often with their grandchildren.

What do you think of Masako’s journey?

You might also want to read: 72-Year-Old Celebrates Graduation With His 98-Year-Old Mother

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!