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Coming of Age Day in Japan

Coming of Age Day (成人の日 Seijin no Hi?) is a Japanese holiday held annually on the second Monday of January. It is held in order to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of majority (20 years old) over the past year, and to help them realize that they have become adults. Festivities include coming of age ceremonies (成人式 seijin-shiki?) held at local and prefectural offices, as well as after-parties amongst family and friends.

Coming of age ceremonies (成人式 Seijin-shiki?) are generally held in the morning at local city offices. All young adults who turned or will turn 20 between April 1 of the previous year and March 31 of the current one and who maintain residency in the area are invited to attend. Government officials give speeches, and small presents are handed out to the newly-recognized adults.
Many women celebrate this day by wearing furisode (a style of kimono with long sleeves that drape down) and zōri sandals. Since most are unable to put on a kimono by themselves due to the intricacies involved in putting one on, many choose to visit a beauty salon to dress and to set their hair. A full set of formal clothing is expensive, so it is usually either borrowed from a relative or rented rather than being bought especially for the occasion. Men sometimes also wear traditional dress (e.g. dark kimono with hakama), but nowadays many men wear formal Western clothes such as a suit and tie more often than the traditional hakama.[4] After the ceremony, the young adults often celebrate in groups by going to parties or going out drinking.
The celebration of one's coming of age reflects both the expanded rights but also increased responsibilities of new adults. However, disruptions to some ceremonies in recent years (such as an incident in Naha in 2002) and a general increase in the number of 20-year-olds who do not feel themselves to be adults have caused some concern among older Japanese.

see more photos @ danny choo's post here

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