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Writer: Danisa Qinthara | Illustrator: Carina Audrey Budiarto | Editor: Athaya Thahirah Hardono & Kalyana Sidra Wardhana | Photographer: Reinardus Darren Tanoto & Sita Rizky

What is Coming of Age Day?

Coming of Age is a national holiday to encourage those who have just entered adulthood to become self-reliant members of the Japanese society.


Every year on the second Monday of January, the Japanese celebrate Coming of Age Day. According to the Japanese law, a person becomes an adult at the age of 20. People who have turned 20 or are turning 20 in the current school year usually gather together in the local city hall to attend the ceremony where young adults receive congratulations from town officials before being awarded with a souvenir. The Coming of Age ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, thus a special attire is worn to celebrate this grandiose event.

Men would usually wear suit, and women are often dressed in kimonos called ‘Furisode’.

The History of the Coming of Age Day (Seijishinki/Seijin No Hi)

Just after World War II, the first Coming of Age ceremony was created in the Saitama region to pay tribute to the fallen by gathering the youngsters who were reaching the age of adulthood. The initial aim of this ceremony was to give hope and courage to young people in the post-war society.

Coming of Age Day Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

Due to the rising rate of COVID-19 infections across Japan, many cities scrapped or postponed Coming of Age ceremonies as daily new cases hit record highs. Despite this unfortunate news, many students still chose to attend the event as they consider this as an opportunity to celebrate their youth, whilst catching up with friends they had lost touch with. By taking proper protective measures and practicing social distancing, the Coming of Age Day ceremonies are among the events that leaders in Japan are allowing to proceed with caution.

It is no doubt that the Coming of Age Day is one of the happiest and most extraordinary events in the lives of Japanese young adults. Although the celebration this year was highly limited due to the declaration of the state of emergency in major cities such as Tokyo, a snse of hope and spirit still lingers about during the Coming of Age day as the Japanese youth make their mark in adulthood, together.

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