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These cheerleaders age between 60 to 89 years!

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Who said that chipper, vibrant pom-poms, and mini-skirts are meant for young lasses? Japan’s grannies are right here to cut a dash! “Japan Pom Pom” is a squad of cheerleaders aged between 60 to 89 years!

Takino and Japan Pom Pom.
Takino with her cheerleading squad Japan Pom Pom. (Image Source: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

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Recently, with shimmery leotards, sequinned skirts and flashy boots, these silver-haired cheerleaders were seen practising keeping in mind the plethora of COVID protocols.

DON’T CALL US OLDIES: JAPAN POM POM

Japan Pom Pom
Japan Pom Pom (Image Source: www.nippon.com)

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Cladded in jet black leggings and t-shirts reading “Japan Pom Pom” written over a glittery star, these cheerleaders have taken inspiration from an overseas cheer squad comprising seniors. Originally, the dance group started with five people. It has 17 active members now. They have always disliked being called “granny cheerleaders”.

The squad warms up before every practice session.
The squad warms up before a practice session. (Image Source: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

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These cheerleaders aged between 60 to 89 years have featured in umpteen government pamphlets about active seniors. In addition, they have made their ways to periodic TV reports and various live charity shows.

 

“As our leader says, try anything,” said a squad member Tami Shimada to a Reuters correspondent. “If you’re interested in something, forget about your age, forget about people saying it’s no good for that reason… I think that leads to a reason to live.”

Shimada plays with her granddaughter Elisa, 4, as her daughter-in-law Tomoko, 44, looks on at a park.
Tami Shimada plays with her granddaughter Elisa, 4, as her daughter-in-law Tomoko, 44, looks on at a park. (Image & Caption Source: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

FOUNDER’S BEAMING NATURE IS WHAT KEEPS THEM GOING

Fumie Takino
Fumie Takino (Image Source: Japan Times)

The 89-year-old Fumie Takino had founded this squad 25 years ago. Takino, who has three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren practices what she preaches. “We went to a senior-citizens club, and they really didn’t like us. They didn’t smile even once.”, Takino remarks on partial acceptance of their squad. But her beaming attitude keeps the entire squad going.

She had tried her hand at scuba-diving, parasailing, ukulele and sky-diving. In addition to teaching dance, she has an affinity for learning Spanish and takes leisure walks. She is a ‘computer solitaire’ geek.

Takino
Takino stretches at her home on the day Japan declared its third state of a health emergency. (Image Source: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

“The last three or four years I’ve started to feel tired a lot more easily. Then having to be home because of the pandemic really meant my stamina fell. I don’t feel anything while I’m practising, but then the next day I feel pretty tired,” she said. “I forget everything while I’m dancing.”, she tells Reuters. An appendectomy has been her only health issue so far. It’s a thunderclap that she will be turning 90 next year. Her squad wants her to practice cheerleading even at 100.

Takino
Takino in her lips imprinted mask. (Image Source: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

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