Ageism is a deeply ingrained issue within our society, permeating various facets of an individual’s life. In a unique attempt to combat the adverse consequences of age-related discrimination, a man in Japan made the unconventional decision to perpetually identify as a 28-year-old, despite approaching his 40s in reality.
This individual, known as Jackie and residing in Kyoto, gained widespread attention in May when he openly discussed his adoption of a ‘trans-age’ identity on the popular reality program Abema Prime, resulting in a viral moment. Born on January 5, 1984, Jackie firmly believes that he is, in essence, 28 years old.
When asked about his decision, Jackie explained, “I felt a strong desire to stay young and relevant, and I found that being 28 was the age where I felt the most comfortable. It’s an age where I can strike a balance between maturity and youthfulness.”
It appears that a pivotal incident at his workplace seven years ago served as the catalyst for this remarkable transformation. Jackie encountered substantial stress when his former employer questioned him with the remark, “How can you not know how to do this at your age?”
Despite identifying as ‘trans-age,’ Jackie is still legally obligated to state his actual age on official documents. During the program, he expressed his hope for a more accepting society, saying, “I think if we can come to a place of acceptance and allow people to make their own choices, we would be a more accepting society.”
Dr. Takashi Sugiyama, a psychologist and professor at Kanagawa University, offered insights into this phenomenon. He shared that individuals like Jackie, who experience a disparity between societal expectations of their age and their true internal feelings, are increasingly common in today’s society. This disconnect serves as a poignant illustration of the ageism issue prevalent in modern society.
In a world that places significant emphasis on one’s age, the story of Jackie underscores the challenges many people face when trying to reconcile their authentic selves with societal norms. It’s a reminder that ageism can affect everyone, even well-known figures like Jennifer Aniston and Jane Fonda, who have taken a stand against society’s stereotypes.