When is Coming of Age Day?
The Coming of Age festival (Seijin no Hi) is celebrated on the second Monday in January. Until 1999, it used to be celebrated on 15 January.
The day honors young Japanese who will reach the age of 20 at any point during the year. Twenty is the age of majority in Japan, and people who have reached this age gain the right to vote in elections as well as to drink.
Local governments usually have a ceremony known as a seijin shiki (adult ceremony) to honor the "new adults". The ceremony is held in the morning and all of the young people who live in the area are invited to attend. Government officials give speeches, and small gifts are handed out to the new adults.
Coming of Age day remains a popular holiday, but Japan's reduction in population growth in recent years means that fewer people are turning 20 - only 1.24 million in 2013 compared to almost double that at the start of the 1970's.
Women celebrate the day by donning special kimonos in which the sleeves are long, compared to the kimono with shorter sleeve portions that is worn by mature, married women. Some women will also wear hakama (baggy pants).
Most young woman cannot put on a kimono themselves, and have to go to a kimono kitsuke who dresses them. They also go to a hairdressers to have their hair done the day before or early in the morning. Many women rent their kimonos because of the cost of buying one.
Most young men wear business suits, although sometimes men wearing dark-colored kimonos can be seen. Certainly, It is a much less expensive day for the young men than the women.
Coming of Age Day has been a holiday since 1948. The modern legal age of 20 as adulthood was established in 1876. Once known as 'Genpuku', the coming of age ceremony is a tradition that predates this by some distance, but the age of becoming an adult was traditionally much younger - 15 for boys and 13 for girls.