Programming may seem like a skill best left to the younger generation, but 81-year-old Masako Wakamiya has proven that people of all ages can crack the code. As the designer and creator of Hinadan, an innovative and one-of-a-kind app, the Japanese mover and shaker is undeniably skilled in the art of modern technology.
Wakamiya learned the ins and outs of programming through a 6-month computer class. After completing the course and regularly consulting her teacher, she came up with the idea for Hinadan. A clever combination of hina, traditional Japanese Emperor and Empress dolls, and dan, or “tier,” the Hinadan app is intended to aid individuals in Japan as they prepare for Hinamatsuri, or Girls' Day. Celebrated on March 3, Girls' Day is a holiday known for its doll displays, which are carefully arranged on a series of platforms. Recognizing that many people are unaware of the hinas' proper placement, Wakamiya created the app, which uses a quirky game to teach users how to correctly present their dolls.
Since creating the unique application, Wakamiya has often encouraged her fellow elders to familiarize themselves with today's technology, citing messaging services as both a user-friendly introductory step and as a way to keep in touch with their younger family members. During an inspirational TEDx Talk, Wakamiya concluded her speech by addressing the older audience members. “Why don't we enjoy the digital life?” she rhetorically asked. “There are a lot of computer classes around, so now is the time to do it! Your silver life will be enriched, and very energetic.”
You can download Wakamiya's app from the Apple App store.