Young adults prepare for Coming-of-Age Day on Monday

By Ran Matsugi

On Monday, if you are out and about in Japan, you’ll see many young people dressed in their best; the girls especially will look pretty in their kimono. That’s because Monday is Coming-of-Age Day (成人の日) – when young Japanese who turned 20 during the previous year or will do so before March 31 this year are officially recognized as adults. Coming of Age Day used to be celebrated every Jan 15 but since 2000, it is observed on the second Monday of January.

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

To mark the occasion, local governments hold events at their city halls. New adults are invited by municipalities where their resident cards are submitted; however, many often attend the ceremony where they are originally from, or attended junior high school at and celebrate the day with their old friends and teachers.

The girls traditionally wear “furisode” kimono (only single women wear them in Japan), while the young men opt for “hakama,” or more often just regular suits. The cost of the "furisode" ranges from 200,000 yen to 2 million yen, but most rent them, adding some professional photos to the day, paying around 250,000 yen in total. Often, the young adults' parents start reserving "furisode" a year in advance as they quickly go out of stock.

After the ceremonies, which tend to be stiff, young adults and their families will often visit their neighborhood shrines or big locations such as Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. Others prefer to cut loose and go wild. The media usually report stories of university students being taken to hospitals after drinking too much at parties.

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A day to celebrate becoming an adult by going to Disneyland or setting off firecrackers during the mayor's speech.

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These young ladies sure look beautiful in their kimonos!

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Those with children wear a different kimono.

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Astonishingly ornate, beautiful, yet hours of peacock preening belays a generation unwilling to take the plunge and reverse a declining population.

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Ah I love this time of year. Everyone is so well dressed and beautiful, it's so traditional.

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I wonder how much parents have to pay for renting those beautiful kimonos for their daughters just for this occasion nowadays. More than ten years ago, I heard from someone that it cost well over half a million yen just to rent a kimono like the ones seen in the photo and that you would have to make a reservation on the kimono your daughter likes at least several months in advance. Buying one would, of course, cost more. I kind of feel fortunate that I don't have a daughter.

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i saw a lot of girls dressed today, scary thing is the one wrapped around one girl's neck looks like a real cat with feet and head!

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Always enjoy seeing them dressed up, not fond of the drunken and rowdy behaviour though. Also sad that many like girls above have to celebrate early as the are working tomorrow like the KATO bus guides.

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I can't remember how much our daughter's rental kimono plus photos cost, but it certainly wasn't in 6 figures. The pack also included free rental of hakama to wear at graduation the following year, which I thought was a pretty good deal.

And no way I would pay for a dead fur anything to go round her neck, nor would she want one.

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