The Coming of Age
day is celebrated on the second day of January
and was made a national holiday
in 1948. This day recognizes 'new adults' that turned age 20 that or that will turn 20 in that current year. Coming of Age Day was celebrated on the 15th of January until 1999.
20 is the legal age in Japan when the new adults are allowed to drink, gamble, vote and smoke, which wasn't declared until 1876.
Usually a ceremony is held to honor the new adults known as Seijin Shiki (Adutl Ceremony). Government officials usually hold speeches and presents are handed out. Ceremonies take place in most of the towns on the island; however, the ceremonies are being interrupted by the 'new adults.' They talk on cell phones and often set off fireworks during the speeches. The turnouts at the ceremonies are decreasing as the japanese population decreases.
Women celebrate by wearing furisode kimonos, in which the sleeves are longer than the kimonos a mature married women would wear. Some women will add baggy pantaloons to their ensemble (Hakama). Since most women can't put on a kimono herself, she will go to a kimono kitsuke who dresses her. Many women have to rent their kimonos because of the expense of one. The women go to stylists the day before or in the early morning of the ceremony to get their hair done. Appointments for the beauty parlor will have to be made 6 months in advance.
Men often don business suits or traditional kimonos, whis is very rare. Somehow expenses for them are less than that of the women.
After the ceremony most young people gather in groups to party or have drinks. Women who aren't used to the traditional slippers (zori) can often be seen limping as the evening approaches.
Coming of age ceremonies have been around for centuries. During the Edo Period (1603-1868) when boys became adults their forelocks were cropped off, which was around age 15. Women would have their teeth dyed black, around age 13.