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.