e-Jan Networks Presentse-Jan!WorkStyleBlog e-Jan Search About
Category Working Telework Living Leisure etc

成人の日(Coming-of-age Day)

This past Monday, 8 January was Japan’s Coming-of-age Day.
In Japan, adults come of age at 20 years old.
‘Coming-of-age Day’ celebrates everyone who comes of age during the year*.
(*The year is in line with Japan’s school year, which begins April of the year before the Coming-of-age Day and ends the following March.)

In Japan, the legal smoking age and drinking age is 20 (voting age is 18), and legal adulthood also begins at 20.
Across the world, many countries set the age of majority at 18, and in this context, Japan’s age of majority, at 20 years old, seems a bit late.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the age of majority sometimes differs by state. (Wikipedia)

On Coming-of-age Day, there are ‘Coming-of-age ceremonies’ held in various locations around the country.
The ceremony, held by local self-governing organisations, invite and celebrate these adults who are coming of age.
Most of these ceremonies are held at banquet halls, but there are some famous exceptions: Urayasu, a city in Chiba Prefecture, holds its Coming-of-age ceremony at the nearby Tokyo Disneyland, where Mickey and Minnie are present to celebrate.
From an outside perspective, it is unusual for a country to have a nation-wide celebration for coming of age.

At the Coming-of-age ceremony, most of the women wear a kimono called a furisode. Most men wear suits, but some wear kimonos (such as with haori and hakama).
At the ceremony, with so many people wearing colorful kimonos, it is an incredibly lively and celebratory affair.

Women wearing furisode at a Coming-of-Age ceremony

Many cultures have coming of age ceremonies, but as T.M. stated above, it is unusual for coming of age to be held on a national level.
The designation of Coming-of-age Day as a recognised holiday seems to be a relatively recent development -the law was established in 1948- but the intent of the holiday seems equal parts celebration and a recognition of these 20-year-olds to become self-aware of their adulthood. In other words, the holiday serves a secondary social purpose: an event for these young people to recognise their own adulthood, and for other adults to recognize them as equals. By making this event a national, cultural standard, it perhaps operates a little differently from other familial, or local coming-of-age celebrations.

Japanese: T.M.(Japan), English translation & editorial: N.M. (U.S.A)