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Monday, 19th January 2015
In Events In Japan,

Kite flown for Coming of Age ceremony

Japanese people who turned 20-years-old last week (January 12th ) celebrated their coming of age with special ceremonies that took place all over the country during this national holiday.

Held annually on the second Monday of January, people are invited to events in major cities where a number of traditions occur, such as the flying of a giant kite in the metropolis of Higashiomi, near the middle of Japan.

Some 40 young men worked together to keep the 40 square-metre wooden structure aloft, all of them pulling on the rope together at one point, in order to mark the importance of their coming of age.

They were joined by around 400 women dressed in kimonos for the ceremonial occasion who had also recently turned 20 or will do before March 31st.

The event has a special significance in Higashiomi City in particular as it has long been associated with the best-constructed kites.

Coming of Age ceremonies are held by city governments to celebrate the arrival of adulthood and new responsibilities for Japan's youth. The occasions carry a lot of weight, with women visiting beauty salons on the morning of the event since due to the intricacies involved in putting on a kimono.

While families often attend the ceremony itself, young people usually go out together afterwards to enjoy food and drink at an izakaya.

Like many Japanese traditions, this one dates back thousands of years, with records dating back to 714 AD revealing that young princes donned new robes and a new hairstyle upon reaching adulthood.

In Japan, those aged 20 and over are permitted to vote, smoke, drink alcohol and marry without permission from their parents.