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Coming of Age in Japan

Updated on February 17, 2019
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Yen is a freelance writer and UI/UX design enthusiast. From tropical lands of Malaysia, she is currently residing in her second home- Japan.

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"Seijin no Hi" often translated as the coming of age day, is an annual national holiday commonly celebrated on the second Monday of January here in Japan.

A ceremony, known as "Seijin Shiki" is held to commemorate this special day for the young adults in Japan who officially turn of age (the age of 20) and embark onto their new journey as adults. This ceremony is held at the city hall of where the attendees registered their mailing address as (where they grew up or were from). There was no chance for an attendee from Osaka to attend his or her ceremony in Tokyo, simply because Tokyo's ceremonies seem much more fun or cooler. There was a system and standard procedure for such an event to take place.

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In order to attend the Seijin Shiki, one has to be invited by the city hall. This ceremony is only open to the young adults turning of age (the attendees). Families and friends wait anxiously and in excitement for the attendees to "graduate" from this ceremony as adults of the society.

Females usually wear furisode, a style of kimono with a much longer sleeves than usual kimonos. It is believed that kimonos with much longer sleeves were usually worn on special events such as tea ceremonies and weddings, mainly dawned by single ladies.

Males on the other hand, wore hakama, a darker colored kimono. But in today's generation, many wear western formal suits instead.

These kimonos are expensive and are usually rented on this special day. Females too usually spend the day at the salon fixing their hair and make up prior to the ceremony.

A day to remember indeed.

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The history of such a day that is widely celebrated all over Japan came from as late as 794 AD and through the Samurai age.

Over the years, the tradition still remains for both males and females. More so, it is now also a day of reunion for these young adults.

As 20 years old of age is the legal age for drinking in Japan, many usually end the day with a great night out with friends. It is also the age where these young adults officially become adults in contributing into pension and income taxes here in Japan.

Cheers in becoming an adult and all the success in your adulthood journey!

BOTAKYEN

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    • botakyen profile imageAUTHOR

      botakyen 

      15 months ago from Kobe-Shi

      Agreed! In Malaysia, we don't have a ceremony to celebrate the coming of age. The age 18 is the start of adulthood for us but we do not celebrate it the same way Japan does, therefore, it was definitely an interesting event to learn and be a part of for me!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      15 months ago from UK

      This is a fascinating account of a coming of age ceremony. We have nothing like this in the UK. 21 used to be a significant age, and for some, it still is, although 18 marks the start of adulthood.

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