Coming of Age Day – Wikipedia

Japanese holiday

Coming of Age Day
Young ladies at Harajuku.jpg
Official name 成人の日 (Seijin no Hi)
Observed by  Japan
Type National holiday
Significance Congratulates and encourages all those who have reached the age of maturity (20 years old) over the past year and celebrates adulthood
Date Second Monday in January
2021 date January 11  (2021-01-11)
2022 date January 10  (2022-01-10)
2023 date January 9  (2023-01-09)
2024 date January 8  (2024-01-08)
Frequency annual

(video) Young people, dressed up for Coming of Age Day, walk in front of a shrine just before twilight.

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 or will reach the age of maturity (20 years old) between April 2 of the previous year and April 1 of the current year, and to help them realise 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 among family and friends.


Coming of age ceremonies have been celebrated in Japan since at least 714 CE, during the reign of Empress Genmei when a young prince donned new robes and a hairstyle to mark his passage into adulthood.[1] The holiday was first established in 1948, to be held every year on January 15.[2] In 2000, as a result of the Happy Monday System, Coming of Age Day was changed to the second Monday in January.[1][3][4]

Japan’s low birth rate and shrinking percentage of young people, coupled with disruptions to some ceremonies in recent years (such as an incident in Naha in 2002, when drunken Japanese youths tried to disrupt the festivities) and a general increase in the number of 20-year-olds who do not feel themselves to be adults have led to decreased attendance of the ceremonies, which has caused some concern among older Japanese.[5] In 2012, the decline continued for the fifth year in a row, with a total of 1.22 million adults celebrating the holiday in 2012 – under half of the participants seen at its peak in 1976, when 2.76 million adults attended ceremonies. This was the first time it has declined below the 50% threshold.[6] Japan lowered the age of adulthood in 2018 from 20 years of age to 18 which is set to take effect in 2022. This change has caused confusion on the status of the holiday, and raised concerns among the kimono industry which profits from the garments worn during the ceremonies.[7]


Men’s and women’s formal traditional dress; dark montsuki(?)-haori-hakama, and furisode with homongi patterns

Coming of age ceremonies (成人式, Seijin-shiki) mark one’s ending of coming of age (age of maturity), which reflects both the expanded rights but also increased responsibilities expected of new adults. The ceremonies are generally held in the morning at local city offices throughout Japan. All young adults who turned or will turn 20 between April 2 of the previous year and April 1 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.[8]

Many women celebrate this day by wearing furisode, a style of kimono with long sleeves that hang down, and zōri sandals. Since most are unable to put on a kimono by themselves due to the intricacies involved, 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 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.[9] After the ceremony, the young adults often celebrate in groups by going to parties or going out drinking.[1]

The ceremony often takes place in the city hall or school’s gyms. There are some special cases such as the ceremony having been held at Tokyo Disneyland since 2002.[citation needed]

Definition of new adult[edit]

New adults are the ones who will welcome their birthdays during the year between the next day of the last coming of age day and the next coming of age day. Citizens were initially asked to take place in the ceremony held after the 20th birthday. It changed to the school-age method since the Happy Monday System was released due to an issue of younger individuals who participated in the ceremony with other strangers.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Allen, David; Sumida, Chiyomi (January 9, 2004). “Coming of Age Day, a big event for Japanese youths, is steeped in tradition”. Stars and Stripes.
  2. ^ Araiso, Yoshiyuki (1988). Currents: 100 essential expressions for understanding changing Japan. Japan Echo Inc. in cooperation with the Foreign Press Center. p. 150. ISBN 978-4-915226-03-8.
  3. ^ Kyōkai, Nihon Rōdō (2000). Japan labor bulletin, Volume 39. Japan Institute of Labour. p. 3.
  4. ^ Glum, Julia (January 11, 2015). “Japan Coming of Age Day 2015: Facts About Japanese Holiday Celebrating Young People [PHOTOS]”. International Business Times.
  5. ^ Joyce, Colin (January 15, 2002). “Drunken Japanese youths ruin coming of age rituals”. The Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^ “Record-low number of new adults mark Coming-of-Age Day”. Mainichi Daily News. January 9, 2012. Archived from the original on January 9, 2012.
  7. ^ Justin McCurry (June 14, 2018). “Credit cards, but no sake: Japan lowers age of adulthood from 20 to 18”. The Guardian. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  8. ^ “e-Gov法令検索”. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  9. ^ Robertson, Jennifer Ellen (2005). A companion to the anthropology of Japan. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-631-22955-1.
  10. ^ “13 Amazing Coming of Age Traditions From Around the World”. Global Citizen. Retrieved August 13, 2020.