‘We Have Entered the World of Adulthood, so We'll Do Our Best!’ Japan Marks Coming of Age Day


Hairstyles of Coming of Age Day. Screencap from Instagram.

Every year, the second Monday in January marks Coming of Age Day (成人の日, seijin no hi) in Japan, when young people in Japan celebrate officially reaching the age of maturity in Japan — 20 years old. There are class reunions, banquets and, often, drunken revelry.

At 20, Japanese people are eligible to vote, to legally consume alcohol, and to drive a car. As an important milestone in one's life, the day is also well documented on social media.

On Monday, January 8, 2018, more than a million people mark their 20th year and their new status as adults. Each municipality across Japan held an official ceremony to mark the day, and newly minted adults attend, usually wearing formal or traditional clothes.

One of the most well-known ceremonies takes place at Kamogawa Seaworld, an aquarium outside of Tokyo. Participants are invited to have their picture taken with Kanjkun, the resident sea lion.

About 1.2 million people will turn in 2018, down from 2.46 million people in 1970. In Tokyo's 23 wards, one in eight new adults in 2018 are not Japanese. According to the Japan Times:

10,959 new non-Japanese adults live in central Tokyo, or 13 percent of the 83,764 new adults living in the city.

In one ward of Tokyo, according to the Japan Times, the number of non-Japanese new adults has tripled over the past five years. This increase in non-Japanese new adults is attributed to student and trainee worker programs that have aggressively recruited younger workers from other parts of Asia.

Reunions, revelry and motorized mischief

The tag “Coming of Age” (#成人式) results in thousands of images, such as class reunions and banquets that mark the day.

Coming of Age ceremony and class reunion. In the blink of an eye we're all 20 years old! What a fun day. #send_me_your_photos!

The hashtag furisode (#振り袖), or long-sleeved kimono, is also a good way to explore images of traditional kimono worn especially for Coming of Age Day.

We had our Coming of Age ceremony on January 3… we have entered the world of adulthood, so we'll do our best! #2018 #ComingOfAgeDay #Kumamoto

今週末は、成人式ですね♪晴れるといいな~ キモノハーツさんのがコーディネートした振袖を描きました(´∀`*) 今はこんな振り袖のスタイリングがあるのね✨と毎年楽しみなイラストのお仕事です♪ ちなみに、私は20才の頃は、オーストラリアに居たので浴衣で迎え、日本に帰ってきてから振袖を着ました(´∀`*) 二十歳おめでとう✨とお祝いの気持ちを込めて、振袖の絵を成人式まで毎日アップしていきます♪ #illustration #illustrator #ilustrasi #drawing#fashionillust  #style #fashionsnap #kimono#japanesekimono #megumimatsuda  #イラスト #イラストレーション #イラストレーター #ファッションイラスト #ファッション #ファッションスナップ #着物コーディネート #振袖ヘア #成人式ヘア  #着物 #和装 #和服 #きもの  #振袖 #きもの番長 #기모노#กิโมโน #иллюстрация #패션일러스트  #成人式

A post shared by きもの番長 松田恵美 Megumi (@kimonobancho) on

The Coming of Age Ceremony will be this weekend. Hopefully it'll be sunny!

I've illustrated some ideas about how to coordinate (accessories and hairstyles) for women wearing the furisode [long-sleeved kimono] for the first time…  (´∀`*)

Here are some contemporary styles. It's something I do every year. As a matter of fact, when I turned 20 I was away in Australia, so I wore a yukata (a light cotton summer kimono intended for high summer) instead, and I didn't get a chance to wear a furisode until I returned to Japan. (´∀`*)

So, congratulations on turning 20! To help celebrate this experience, I'll be uploading illustrations every day [until January 8].

Men also pay attention to what they wear and how they look, especially hairstyles.

Everybody knows that on Coming of Age Day I'll be getting my hair styled and will be wearing a dark suit for my “host bar” cabaret job, lol.

Coming of Age Day is also known as the day when yancha, or misbehaved boys, finally become men, and can drive around in souped-up cars while wearing gaudy costumes. One new adult, dressed more conservatively in a dark suit, visited his more provocative classmates:

The people of Atsugi [in Kanagawa, to the southwest of Tokyo] never change. It's just like back in junior high school… really fun! Sorry for leaving the class reunion partway through… and for wearing a suit. Until next time! through

Flashy clothes and even flashier cars are a key part of Coming of Age Day for some new adults:

The Coming of Age ceremony was the best.?

If anyone has any more photos or videos… Send ‘em my way! ???

Kimono rental shop ruins day for hundreds of new adults

While in past years rowdiness and public inebriation have dominated news coverage, this year the sudden closure of a kimono rental chain, leaving hundreds of women who had put down deposits for kimonos with nothing to wear for Coming of Age Day, made headlines and went viral in social media.

The situation was a nightmare for the women, who had all likely waited years to get dressed up to mark their coming of age.

As one Twitter user remarked:

I was celebrating this day two years ago, but there are a lot of gals who don't have anything to wear because of this fly-by-night outfit. There's even the situation where kimonos being stored at the shop aren't being returned. All those people and their families looking forward to Coming of Age Day must be so sad. There's only one day in your life you turn 20 years old, it's hard to forgive that company.

After the situation came into the spotlight, a kimono shop in a suburb of Tokyo offered to help at least six of the women affected by the closure dress up for their special day.

The other million or so newly minted adults enjoyed the day in a variety of ways that were captured on nightly newscasts:

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