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Coming of age ceremonies?

19 Apr 2002
I recently read an article on one of Thomas's reference pages. It referred to youths' disturbances at a Mayor's speech to the adults who had come of age. My question is, "What's the reason for these celebrations?" It seemed to be the main event in a town, and hundreds of young people attended its self, is this tradition? Do all young adults celebrate? or is this only for the elite?

Hi Debs,

I have moved the thread to the Japan FAQ section, I hope you don't mind.

Since I'm the reference guy (see my new sig, hehe), I'll list a few resources from our directory

Coming-of-Age Day
The second Monday of January is Coming-of-Age Day, a national holiday to encourage those who have newly entered adulthood to become self-reliant members of society. (The holiday used to be on January 15, but in 2000 it was moved to the second Monday of the month.)

Municipal governments host special coming-of-age ceremonies for 20-year-olds since an "adult" in Japan is legally defined as one who is 20 or over. They gain the right to vote on their twentieth birthday, and they're also allowed to smoke and drink. But along with these rights come new responsibilities as well, and so age 20 is a big turning point for the Japanese.

Coming-of-age ceremonies have been held since time immemorial in Japan. In the past boys marked their transition to adulthood when they were around 15, and girls celebrated their coming of age when they turned 13 or so. During the Edo period (1603-1868), boys had their forelocks cropped off, and girls had their teeth dyed black. It wasn't until 1876 that 20 became the legal age of adulthood.

These days, males generally wear suits to their coming-of-age ceremony, but a lot of females choose to wear traditional furisode--a special type of kimono for unmarried women with extra-long sleeves and elaborate designs. For unmarried women, furisode is about the most formal thing they can wear, and so many of them don it to the event marking the start of their adult life.

The number of children in Japan is shrinking. For instance, about 1.74 million (890,000 males and 850,000 females) joined the ranks of grown-ups in 1999; this is 80,000 fewer than the year before and represents 1.4% of the total population.

Photo: Five women celebrate their coming of age in elaborate furisode outfits. (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Kjeld Duits, a Dutch photographer located in Kobe, had a nice series of pics on his homepage last January (he took shots of a few truly beautiful girls... )

Hehe, hope my wife doesn't see this post...

Here's the link


Photos all courtesy of iKjeld

That should give you a basic idea. 🙂
hehe Hi reference guy, lol

those pics where truly stunning and I wish for the day I come of age lolol:clap:

I'm glad you moved the thread the second I posted it I realised it was in the wrong place.🙂

I should get my Jr status back until I figure out what I'm doing wrong.😄

love the new sig Thomas, it's definitely you! 👏
Thanks Deb! Actually, it was Moyashi who gave me my new identy. *G*

By the way, you can change your user title to whatever you like in the User Control Panel (you don't have to stay "Member" for the rest of this forum's life)...
ahhh great ... everybody get's a cool nic and not me! :(
that's why I've never really liked my Danish name of "Carsten" .... it's too difficult for Americans and Japanese to think up a nick name :(

coming of age is also probably like the Jewish Barmitzph (ughh can't spell)

Recently, these ceremonies have become boring ... lolo ... Japanese love to give 5 minute speeches and if you have to listen to 3-4 jiji's (old farts) ... you'll die of boredom.

Also, with each younger generation the ties to old seem to weaken therefore leaving this day more as a "group" birthday that is celebrated downtown in the drinking districts.

This ceremony is open to all who will or have turned 20 during the year. Threfore the birthday reference above.

I wonder how traditional this is???

you're just totally infactuated with kimono's aren't ya ;)
Its a celabration worth holding on too and one that will be remembered how ever you decide to spend it, in a pub or having to lisen to an old jiji, its celabrated in a crowd and your not on your own, and its true tradition has become weaker in all societys with the introduction of power and new found identidies, it should be told as stories as we grow up to keep it alive in the young,

moyashi you dont need a new nic name (Iv just learnt how to spell it without having to check the spelling. lolol).
Originally posted by moyashi
you're just totally infactuated with kimono's aren't ya
I'll restrict any further discussion of this topic to PMs.
Originally posted by moyashi
coming of age is also probably like the Jewish Barmitzph (ughh can't spell)
Bar Mitzvah for boys and Bath Mitzvah for girls; however, it's a religious ceremony, something like the "Coming of Religious maturity" (please holler if I'm wrong).

I remember that many former Communist countries had their own "Coming of age" celebrations, being initiations to become a full member of socialist society, I remember I've seen such a rite once in the GDR, with uniforms, torches and formal speeches, really spooky.
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