Seijin No Hi
Seijin no Hi, or Coming of Age Day, is a national holiday steeped in tradition. It celebrates the transition into adulthood for all young Tokyoites who are, or will be, 20 years old during this academic year.
In modern terms, this means they are now entitled to vote, are treated as adults if they commit any unlawful acts, and can legally buy alcohol and tobacco products.
Coming of Age Day
The modern form of Seijin no Hi was recognized in 1948 then, with the incorporation of the "Happy Monday" system from 2001, the celebration now takes place on the second Monday in January. Don't you just love the Happy Monday system that guarantees these lovely long weekends?
On this day many young Tokyoites in their twentieth year will attend a more formal gathering organized by the local government office called "Seijin Shiki". With parents and other proud family members in tow, they will listen to speeches giving them advice and explaining their new responsibilities as adults in society.
Perhaps it's a sign of the times that, in more recent years, during the sometimes lengthy and serious speeches that are presented, some young Tokyoites can be heard heckling or letting off fireworks rather than listening dutifully to every word.
Furisode Kimonos And Lavish Hairdos
Seijin no Hi is a chance for young female Tokyoites to dress up in some of the most decorative and beautiful kimonos called "Furisode".
These are probably the most extravagant clothes that a young Japanese woman will wear until the day she gets married. The majority of young men now wear suits for the occasion, although some still wear the more traditional male kimono.
The Furisode kimono is not a cheap option and can cost in excess of 10,000 US dollars. As a result, many young people today will hire their outfit for the occasion in order to reduce the price tag. For the ladies, this is a day for dressing up to the nines and hours will be spent in hairdressers and salons getting hairdos and make-up ready for the big event.
History of Seijin No Hi
Seijin no Hi has its roots set in historical culture and tradition. It was only in 1876, during the Edo period, that the age of twenty was set as the year a young person moved into adulthood.
Previous to this, the celebration was a crucial Shinto religion rite with slight differences for males and females.
For boys, their celebration, called "Gempuku", could take place between the ages of 10 - 16 if they were members of a samurai family. During the ceremony, they were presented with a headdress called an "Eboshi" and they received an adult male name denoting their new role and subsequent responsibilities as an adult, such as marriage.
For girls, the same stipulation of belonging to a samurai family was required. Their celebration, called "Mogi", would occur during the ages of 12 - 16, when they would receive a special kimono and be allowed to dress as an adult female for the first time.