Seijin no Hi

“Seijin no Hi” or Coming of Age Day is a traditional Japanese holiday which is organized on the second Monday in January. In Japan the age of majority is 20.

Seijin no Hi
Japanese girls celebrating Seijin no Hi

The tradition is that the holiday includes persons who became 20 years old between two Coming of Age Days or exactly on the day of holiday. Recently this rule was changed a bit. Nowadays the holiday includes not only 20 years old persons but also those with 19 years whose birthday is between the 2nd of April of previous year and the 1st of April of current year.

Coming of Age ceremonies or “seijin-shiki”, celebrating the fact that person became an adult, are held at local or prefectural offices.

Coming of Age Day is not that old. It was established in 1948. In the period between 1948 and 2000 it was celebrated on the 15th of January. In 2000 Japanese government introduced so called Happy Monday System or “Happī Mandē Seido”.

According to this system the government moved several national holidays to monday that way creating three days weekends. Coming of Age Day was one of such holidays. As of 2000 the holiday was celebrated on the second Monday in January.

At the Coming of Age ceremonies organized at offices of local authorities government officials give speeches. All new adults attending the ceremony get small presents.

furisode kimono
furisode kimono

On the Coming of Age day women reaching adulthood wear “furisode”. A furisode (“swinging sleeves”) is a type of kimono with long sleeves. These sleeves are usually between 99 and 107 cm long. Furisode is worn only by single women. Furisode is quite expensive so it is often rented.

zori sandals
zori sandals

As shoes women wear zori. Zori are traditional Japanese flat and thong sandals Some women also wear kind of scarf made of fake fur. And yes, visiting a hairdresser to set a special hairstyle is also a must.

Men on the other side traditionally wear dark kimono with “hakama”. This combination is called “hakamashita”. Hakama are traditional Japanese clothes which are tied at the waist and fall approximately to the ankles.

hakamashita
hakamashita

There are two types or hakama – divided umanori (“horse-riding hakama”) which have divided legs and undivided andon hakama (“lantern hakama”). Hakama can be worn by both men and women.

After the ceremony some of new adults go to a shrine or get together with their friends or old school mates (“dousoukai”).