In a country known for its ageing population, a neighbourhood in the Japanese capital Tokyo’s Shinjuku district turns into a college town in the evenings.

Takadanobaba, popularly known as “baba” is an area where students go to cheap bars and izakayas, an informal kind of gastropub.

This is where Sumiko Iwamuro aka DJ Sumirock spins the latest international tracks. Nothing unusual about that, except that she’s 82.

She usually opens with a popular theme song of anime Astro Boy – a fictional, robot from the future created by graphic novelist Osamu Tezuka in 1952, who was said to be “born” in Takadanobaba on April 7, 2003.

日本にもグランマDJいるんだー。apparently we have grandma DJs too! #sumirock

A post shared by DJ SARASA (@djsarasa) on

“She’s got this energy that goes beyond her age that can equal any young person’s here. She is really cool,” says Fuminari Fujii, a club-goer.

Iwamuro is a sensation in Japan. During the day, she makes gyozas, or dumplings, with her brother, Masash and has been doing so for over 60 years at the restaurant they inherited from their father.

After the death of her husband, when she was in her 70s, Iwamuro met Adrian, a Frenchman who acquainted her with DJ music.


“I thought it was noisy at first, but I got used to it soon,” she told AFPBB. She decided to take up a DJ training class at a local music school and has never looked back.

DJ Sumirock isn’t the only one defying her age – a month ago, a group of elderly men started “Grandfather-pop” to show that age is just a number.