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First, there was KBG84, Japan’s hottest “girl” band whose 33 members have an average age of 84. And now, Japan Pom Pom, a unique cheerleading troupe made up of 28 sprightly grandmothers whose ages range from 55 to the late 80s.
The geriatric team, which does not even consider “girls” below the age of 55, was founded 20 years ago by Fumie Takino. The now 84-year-old says that she had always been mesmerized by cheerleading, but never had the confidence to try it in her youth.
It was not until she was in her early 60s that Takino rounded up five of her best friends and began to learn the American sport. The group has now grown to 28. The women meet on a weekly basis to learn and practice new cheerleading routines. Takino says while the moves may not be as acrobatic as those performed by their younger counterparts, the members take cheerleading very seriously and even analyze videos of themselves to improve.
Earlier this year, Japan Pom Pom celebrated its 20th anniversary with a guest appearance at the annual United Spirit Association (USA) Nationals competition held in Tokyo. Dressed in gold-trimmed pink miniskirts and white boots, they delighted the audience with their rambunctious cheerleading routine to the song “Dreamgirls.” And in case you are wondering, Takino, who credits the sport for helping her stay in a good physical and mental state, has no plans to hang up her silver pom poms anytime soon.
Resources: japantimes.com, aol.com, odditycentral.com