Helloooo everyone, it’s time for another info post! Not a massive amount has been going on (it is January after all) but it’s a different story over in Japan!
On January 12th 2015, Japan held their annual Coming of Age Day (Seijin No Hi)! Every year on the second Monday of January, this Japanese holiday is held to congratulate and encourage all of those who have reached the responsible adult age of 20 (known as hatachi). It is a day that has been celebrated since at least 714AD but wasn’t established as an official holiday until 1948; originally it was to be held every year on January 15th but when the Happy Monday System was put in place, it was changed to be the second Monday of January.
Previously, all those that attended the ceremonies became 20 years old after the last (and before the current) Coming of Age Day but in recent times, some of the attendees are only 19 years old as the conditions were changed slightly so that anyone who would turn 20 between April 2nd of the previous year and April 1st of the current year would be invited to attend. When these young adults turn 20, they reach the ‘age of majority’ and will be considered responsible adults with legal control over their actions and decisions; they will also be allowed to vote, and legally purchase cigarettes and alcohol.
The Coming of Age ceremonies are known as Seijin-Shiki and are held in local city offices throughout Japan; Government officials make speeches and hand out presents to those who are recognised as new adults. Afterwards, many of the young adults will have after-parties thrown for them by their families or will go out drinking in large groups.
Seijin No Hi is the perfect time for everyone to dress fancy (kind of like Prom in America); women are usually dressed in a furisode and zori sandals, a type of kimono with long, swinging sleeves. These kimono are so expensive that they are usually rented or borrowed for the day, and many will visit a beauty salon to be dressed and have their hair done, with specialists picking the correct style, colour and accessories to personally suit them; men sometimes wear the traditional dark kimono and hakama but the majority now dress in Western suits and ties.
Here in the UK we have certain birthdays that we celebrate more elaborately than others; 13 is the age that a child is recognised as a teenager, 16 marks the age that a person is of school leaving age and sexual consent, and 18 marks the age that a person officially becomes an adult and is legally allowed to drink, vote, gamble and buy cigarettes. Technically the age of 18 is our ‘age of majority’ as this is the stage in one’s life that they can legally do most things; although the age of 21 offers much less, it is still highly celebrated here in the UK and it is considered the age of majority for those living in the US.
It would be really nice if the UK still had traditional holidays but we really don’t have any! We have the normal Christmas, Easter and Halloween etc. but none that are personal to us and that everyone gets involved with. It’s such a shame I think because although we are a rather proud country, we are still so separate from one another (I guess except when it comes to football…).
Despite Seijin No Hi being an important tradition, there isn’t really much to say about it; you get invited, you prepare your outfit and photo-shoots, you listen to some Government Officials make speeches about your new-found responsibilities, you get gifts, you go partying – that’s kind of all I have managed to pick up from researching and reading people’s blogs about their Coming of Age Day experience. Quite a few described the speeches as being boring, and one even said that they fell asleep! A lot of them said that they just went home after the ceremony and didn’t go out or celebrate afterwards; I know that some of these people were foreigners who aren’t used to Japanese traditions but were invited because they were studying in Japan, especially if they are from the UK then they would already have experienced going out legally. Overall I still think it is a nice day and I would love to visit Japan one January to see all of the girls walking around in their outfits – I think their furisodes are so pretty, I wish that I could try one on one day!!
That’s all for this post, hope you enjoyed learning about Seijin No Hi with me! Let’s end this post with lots of pretty pictures of the day, including Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in her specially made furisode!
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu also released a song called ‘Furisodeshon/Furisodation’, which is about her turning 20 years old, and she also wore a furisode in her song ‘Yume No Hajima Ring Ring’, which is about her growing up through life to where she is now, as she didn’t wear one in her Furisodeshon MV.