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90-year-old Tokyo metalworker says 'I want to work until I die'

Ninety-year-old Mamoru Hirahisa works at Yokobiki Shutter in Tokyo's Adachi Ward on Jan. 30, 2018. (Mainichi)

Order-made shutter manufacturing company "Yokobiki Shutter" in Tokyo's Adachi Ward has an unusual full-time employee -- 90-year-old Mamoru Hirahisa.

    Hirahisa joined the company at age 78 after being recommended by a friend. Currently, he works on crafting one of the metal parts that supports the shutters. "I want to work until I die," he says.

    Born and raised in an old residential area of Tokyo, Hirahisa's interest in making things was sparked at a young age by a knife factory in his neighborhood. When he was around 20 years old, he started his own welding firm that mainly produced scissors and kitchen knives. He and his family ran the business for many years, but due to the influx of cheap foreign goods, demand plummeted and he wound down the company when he was 65.

    After that, he roamed by bus around Tokyo neighborhoods like Akabane and Kinshicho, enjoying his post-retirement life. But 12 years ago, a friend told him about Yokobiki Shutter, which was hiring regardless of age, and he joined the workforce once again. Because metalwork is done by hand, Hirahisa could draw on his many years of experience.

    He works from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., traveling 30 minutes to work by bicycle. Wishing to extend Hirahisa's stint at the company as long as possible, the firm has a special rule that if it's raining, then he can take the day off. Hirahisa is a big fan of steak, and he says, "Working and eating delicious food are my raisons d'etre."

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