Coming-of-Age Day ceremonies held across Japan

Coming-of-Age Day ceremonies held across Japan Japanese women clad in kimonos, who will be 20 years old this year, gather for a group photo in front of the Cinderella Castle after attending a Coming of Age ceremony at Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, near Tokyo, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO —

New adults attended ceremonies and festive events across Japan on Monday to mark Coming-of-Age Day.

Coming-of-Age Day—Seijin no Hi (成人の日)—is held on the second Monday of the year. It is celebrated by those who turned 20 during the previous year or will do so before March 31 this year.

Some ceremonies were held on Sunday for those young adults who have to work on Monday.

To mark the occasion, women traditionally wear “furisode” kimono (only single women wear them in Japan), while most young men opt for just regular suits.

At Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, hundreds of kimono-clad adults and their families could be seen Monday morning offering prayers for the New Year.

As always, one of the most popular spots was Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, where about 1,400 new adults took part in festivities. Young Japanese women posed for photos with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Toshimaen amusement park was another favorite spot.

In Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures, which were hit by the March 11, 2011 disaster, ceremonies were tinged with sadness as young people remembered their friends who perished in the disaster. Some new adults posed for photos with portraits of deceased classmates.

In other areas of Tohoku, parents of children who died and who would have been 20, attended with photos of their daughters wearing kimonos so they could be present in spirit. Some young adults, whose parents died in the disaster, brought photos of their parents to the ceremony.

According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, as of Jan 1, there were an estimated 1.21 million new adults, a decrease of about 50,000 from a year earlier. Of the 1.21 million, 620,000 are men and 590,000 are women.

The number of people aged 20 years old is expected to fall to 1.06 million in 2025, according to estimates by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

Around 2.4 million people aged 18 and 19 will be eligible to vote in the upper house election in the summer after the voting age was lowered from 20 to 18 to encourage political participation by young people.

Turning 20 in Japan means that young people also have the right to smoke, drink alcohol and marry without permission from their parents – all officially, that is. From a law enforcement perspective, it means that offenders are no longer considered minors and crime suspects can be named.

Japan Today

  • 7

    Brainiac

    The ceremonies in Tohoku are always sad. I remember seeing one on TV last year where a father had a photo of his daughter in a kimono when she was 16 and who died in the 2011 disaster, photoshopped to show how she might have looked at 20. He brought it to the ceremony so she could be with her classmates, he said. Really sad.

  • 5

    Yubaru

    I wish them the best. I wonder what will happen to this holiday after the voting age drops to 18 this year, and with Abe's desire for more tax income by dropping the drinking (and smoking) age to 18. Will HS seniors be "adults" then?

  • 0

    sensei258

    Does anybody know how much one of these young women typically spends to prepare for this day? I mean the hair, makeup, kimono rental etc. It must cost an arm and a leg.

  • 0

    turbotsat

    The polar bear fur doesn't appear to be real, raising doubts about the cost of the kimonos.

  • 0

    kawabegawa198

    Probably all been drinking and smoking for the last two years anyway.

  • 3

    turbotsat

    Strangerland: My wife said there's not a lot more money to spend other than the kimono. ...

    Are they a style of kimono you could wear more than once, or a special style only worn for Coming of Age Day?

    They look a bit different than the usual to me, but I definitely don't know anything about it.

  • 5

    Moonraker

    Ah, the paradox of Coming of Age with Mickey and Minnie.

  • -5

    Ogün Alarçin

    I wanna say something.Why peoples celebrate tehir birthday it isn't logical for me cause it means death come closer and everything in your life turn into memory which will be fade away year by year.When i was a child i don't wanna be an adult cause i was enjoyed life and we all find out the world isn't nice as we tell our children.It isn't get better,world and peoples suffer.

  • 5

    Moonraker

    When i was a child i don't wanna be an adult

    I think your sentiments will be shared by many of those participating in today's Coming of Age ceremonies.

  • -4

    Ogün Alarçin

    That depends on the person. My life keeps getting better every year.

    I saif that for world wide.Not for my personal life.I will reading news everyday in scale of world wide some of us very lucky to born under peaceful country but some peoples in this world can't have a chance for it they're trying to survive.I'm always sorry for him.Some peoples only look but some of us seeing the truth and my friend i see their pains at first hand.Biologicaly peoples are animals and their souls filled with animalistic things.It's our dark side which will show up under pressure and facing the death.

    I think your sentiments will be shared by many of those participating in today's Coming of Age ceremonies.

    With different style.When i was a child i don't know the world pain and inequality.When i was a child i was curious about science i want to understand everything so i'm a scientist now but peoples use science in bad way.Many of my colleague employed by military for what developing weapon or something like that.They said we developing it because we want defend ourselves but we all know defend or attack it doesn't matter it will kill humans.This saddens me.Peoples murdering peoples.This is why i'm so desperate and pessimistic and every world governments ambition kill us too.

  • -4

    Wc626

    Young Japanese women posed for photos with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

    What it is with Mickey Mouse & Japanese girls? Purity rings?

  • 2

    tinawatanabe

    Mickey Mouse is there because it is Disney Land. I'm sure the other cities don't have Mickey Mouse for this event.

  • 3

    itsonlyrocknroll

    Beautiful, breathtaking, all the best x

  • 2

    sf2k

    I'm oddly reminiscent of Hornblower from 2003. I had to look up the quote from the character Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    Put away the Disneyland, time to move forward

    Good luck!

  • 1

    John Michael White

    Kawaii girls!!

  • 1

    Jumin Rhee

    Yubaru:

    As far as the HS comment, it'll be the same as in the States. Teachers still can't touch by virtue of position of authority. They may, however, split the age of majority from the drinking age as well.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    As far as the HS comment, it'll be the same as in the States. Teachers still can't touch by virtue of position of authority. They may, however, split the age of majority from the drinking age as well.

    You didnt get the question though, "What will happen to the holiday?" The ceremony here is to celebrate their "coming of age." If they are allowed the rights granted, up until now, to adults (20) at 18 then they should be considered and treated as such, in all things.

    However, again, Japanese 18 year old's for a large part, are still rather immature and are ill prepared to participate in the political process, not to mention mixing that immaturity with alcohol, and a huge problems will eventually happen.

    Recently some people will rent them instead, which is much cheaper.

    "Recently?" More like more than a generation of women have been renting them, it's kind of meaningless to spend that much money for a one time event. My wife is over 50 and she and all her classmates rented them, it's big business, that along with the hair styling and make-up, many places offer package deals for this event. Many also are booked up over a year in advance as well.

    The "rich" folk probably buy them, but the overwhelming majority, rent them.

  • 2

    Joeintokyo

    Turning 20 in Japan means that young people also have the right to smoke, drink alcohol

    The two biggest kiken drugs.

  • 2

    toolonggone

    sf2k: I'm oddly reminiscent of Hornblower from 2003. I had to look up the quote from the character Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    I'm pretty sure the quote is from the Old Testament, 1 Corinthians: 11-13.

  • 0

    Brian Wheway

    Coming of age is one of the mile stones of life, like getting married, I think that the girls/woman need to celebrate this once in a life time event, I love the craftsmanship and design of these Furisode they are and look fantastic.....can we have some more pictures please?

  • -1

    Pukey2

    You're not an adult until you've been to Disneyland Tokyo.

Login to leave a comment

OR
The Rejuvenating Waters of Gero Onsen

The Rejuvenating Waters of Gero Onsen

Kaisekiyado SuihoenOnsen

The Photographer's Eye and Japanese Culture

The Photographer's Eye and Japanese Culture

Temple University, Japan CampusContinuing Education / MBA

Japanese Language Program, Fall 2016

Japanese Language Program, Fall 2016

Temple University, Japan CampusContinuing Education / MBA

Special Offers

Work
in
Japan

Search the Largest English Job Board in Japan.

Find a Job Now!

More in National

View all

View all

Time
to Buy
in Japan

Find the perfect home today!

Search