Coming of Age Day: How the Japanese Celebrate Becoming an Adult

  • Japanese people are only considered self-reliant once they reach the age of 20. This is considered the age of maturity in the country. It is also a sign of adulthood. This means that they are already capable of handling responsibilities on their own. And so, they can therefore be allowed to smoke, vote and drink alcohol.

    The Coming of Age dates back to the Meiji Era. Everything was reconstructed. This was also the time when the age of 20 was considered to be the age of maturity. It is a very significant point in the life of many Japanese that they even made a special word for it. Normally, when you talk about your age in Japan, you have to say the number which is then followed by the word sai. However, hatachi is the word for the age 20.

    What Happens During the Day?

    This is a special ceremony, so everyone who will be turning 20 between April 2 of the previous year and April 1 of the current year are invited to attend. Some people who feel they are not mature enough, decline to attend the ceremony. It has actually caused concern among the older Japanese.

    A special celebration needs a special kind of attire. If you’re a woman, you can wear furisode. It is a swinging-sleeve kimono which is very unique because of its long sleeves. This is an expensive type of kimono. Parents usually rent this for their daughters. It is also a symbol of a woman’s singleness and readiness to marry.

    Of course the event is not only for women. Men are also part of it. They have to wear a so-called montsuki haori hakama.

    This is also a traditional type of Japanese clothing. However, as the society gradually embraces the modern times, men are allowed to wear a suit and tie. Perfect for the after-party event where they can finally go out and have fun at night!