I think it's one of the greatest crocks of shit in the world that someone should be respected solely on the basis that he or she happens to be older than you.
I give a certain amount of basic respect to everyone, just on the mere fact that they are human. If I happen to give additional respect or admiration to a person who happens to be older, it is because that person deserves it somehow - such as a boss, a mentor, an expert in the field I'm interested in, whatever. For my interests, a person who is older in my lab usually has the scientific experience to make a better judgment on a procedural matter - I'll usually defer.
But for the mere accident of earlier conception and consequently birth? It's just a sick entitlement to me - that because one can't be respected for the accomplishments that they haven't earned, he or she has to try to gain respect by proxy.
Maybe it's because of American/Western Academia - especially science - where insights are ideally judged based on their own merits rather than the age of the speaker, that I feel this way; A valid mathematical proof is no more or less true if the proposition was made by a 15 year old than a 65 year old. It's this trend in Japanese Science that causes the most innovative people to leave: it's considered disrespectful to question, contradict, or just merely exceed your mentor there.