K-12 Outreach for Japanese Culture: 1月 / January (part 2)

This guide is designed for K to 12 instructors who teach Japanese culture and traditions.

成人の日 / Seijin no Hi (Coming of Age Day)




“Seijin no Hi” or “Coming of Age Day” is held every second Monday in the month of January. Coming of Age Day is a day to congratulate and commemorate the "new" adults who reached the age of 20. The traditions dates back to around the Nara period (710 - 794) when the Imperial Court presented the prince as an adult. This tradition to celebrate the adulthood caught on to the commoners, and during the Edo period (1603 – 1868), the boys were considered as an adult when they turned 15 and girls were considered as an adult when they turned 13. The boys cut their hair and started to carry a sword around, while the girls dyed their teeth black as a symbol of beauty. In 1876, the adulthood for both boys and girls were set as 20. And in 1948, the day became a national holiday.

Today, it is a tradition for the females to wear a “furisode,” a long sleeved kimono, and boys to wear a “hakama,” large pants worn over a kimono, or western suits. The newly recognized adults would gather at a government held city hall ceremony, visit shrines with their family, and usually attend wild after parties with friends. As 20 year olds, these new adults can now vote, smoke, drink and gamble. The day is to honor and congratulate the new adults, as well as to apprise their new responsibilities as a responsible adult in society. 

成人式の風景 / The Coming of Age Ceremony 

成人のファッション / Seijin no Hi Fasshon (Coming of Age Day Fashion)


The Coming of Age ceremonies are like modern day fashion shows for kimonos. Many girls wear the traditional furisode. The furisode is a long sleeved kimono and is traditionally worn only in special occasions by unmarried women. Girls often rent out these furisode because of the expensive prices, and often hire people to help with the wardrobe, hair and makeup.
The boys would often wear either the traditional hakama or a Western suit. In recent years, it is more popular to wear a suit. The hakama is a pant styled kimono and could be worn by both sexes. 

振袖 / Furisode 

袴とスーツ / Hakama and Suits

成人の日ビデオ / Seiji no Hi Video (Coming of Age Day Video)

A video by Lonely Planet about the Coming of Age Day, filmed in Tokyo.