Tuesday, 14th January 2014
In General Japan News,
Japan celebrates Coming of Age day
Those young adults in Japan who reached the age of 20 in the past year were celebrated yesterday (January 13th ) as part of the Seijin no hi festival, or Coming of Age Day.
Nationwide celebrations were held in all cities and prefectures, with thousands of newly declared adults taking to the streets in formal dress, as is traditional.
Celebratory kimonos and brand new suits were worn to a special event held by the Mayor of Tokyo, who congratulated some 1,200 attendees on the start on their adulthood.
According to the internal affairs ministry, 1.21 million men and woman turned 20 last year - the lowest number since records began in 1968. This number was at its highest in 1970 when it hit 2.46 million.
Seijin no hi is a national holiday that takes place every year on the second Monday of January, although until 1999, it was always commemorated on January 15th.
Upon reaching the age of 20 in Japan, citizens are permitted to vote, drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.
The celebration has been fixed in the Japanese calendar since the Edo period (1603 - 1868), although boys became adults when they turned 15 and girls became adults at 13 back then.
Tourists visiting during January should be aware that the festival represents a good photo opportunity as the traditional furisode is often worn. This is a special type of kimono that features extended sleeves and highly extravagant designs.
Japan's traditional culture has resulted in a high number of festivals and national holidays throughout the year, meaning that there is almost always something going on, no matter when you travel.
Dates to watch out for include the August holiday of Obon and Kyoto's famous Gion Matsuri, which sees the local geiko and maiko (geisha) walking the streets.
Written by Graham McPherson
Related news stories:
Kite flown for Coming of Age ceremony (19th January 2015)
Tsunami victims remembered during Coming-of-Age ceremony (15th January 2013)
Average age of Japan's isolated increases (11th April 2008)
Crown Prince urges Emperor Akihito to 'reduce burden' (24th February 2012)