Japanese woman recognized as world’s oldest DJ
Restaurant owner Sumiko Iwamura has a surprising alter ego.
By day, the 83-year-old works in the kitchen of her Chinese restaurant in Shinjuku.
But at night, she stands in the DJ booth setting the beat for enthusiastic clubgoers at Decabar Z.
Iwamura, who is better known to her fans as DJ Sumirock, now holds the Guinness World Records title for the oldest professional club DJ.
Sumirock was 77 when her interest in DJing was sparked by a friend who said she should give it a try. She said she enrolled in a DJ school thinking it would be fun.
Six years later, she holds a regular gig at Decabar Z, but also travels the globe to other clubs in Paris, New Zealand and other destinations.
Sumirock performs once or twice a month at the club, but said she usually works her regular day shift at the restaurant, cooking well into the evening before heading to the club around 1 a.m. The octogenarian isn’t sure where she gets her energy.
“I think I might be born with it,” said Iwamura. “I don’t take any health supplements or do any exercises, but when I do something totally different, I feel energized.”
As DJ Sumirock, she said her favorite music is techno, and she mixes in rock, jazz and even anime soundtracks. She said the tracks often reflect her mood.
“Because I get bored quite easily, I don’t get stuck with the same tracks. So every time I prepare for a gig I choose tracks that get me, then and there,” she said.
Her two jobs bring in different types of people, but Sumirock said restaurant customers and clubgoers do have a lot in common.
“You get feedback from your customers quickly in both cases,” she said. “If you’re playing tracks and they don’t like it, they’ll leave the floor and start drinking at the bar. If the tracks are danceable, then they’ll stay on and dance their heart out.
“Restaurant customers are the same. If it tastes good, they look happy, and they’ll tell me that they like it. For me, it’s easy to work out how people are feeling in both cases.”
Sumirock said she’s living the dream at the age of 83. She attributes her success to her longevity saying it’s just her age that got her the title from Guinness World Records. But, she has some advice for others who are struggling with their dreams.
“Chances are there every day. Don’t give up, and always try something,” she said.