Coming of Age Day is a public holiday held in Japan in the first week of January each year. The holiday has existed since the late 1940s, and, with most of the country given the day off work, those who have recently turned 20 are encouraged to celebrate their entry into adulthood by wearing traditional clothes and throwing parties with their friends and family, perhaps even paying a visit to a temple. Proud parents look on as their once rosy-cheeked cherubs stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them as mature men and women, ready to join the workforce and steer the country towards greatness.
This year’s crop of adults on the island of Okinawa, however, have become cause for concern in the Japanese media this week as a number of seijin-shiki (coming of age ceremony) parties got just a little too rowdy. What is normally a day of dignity and teary-eyed parents looked more like a public demonstration or protest as Japan’s newest adults filled the streets of Naha city, prompting lines of police and camera crews to show up.
The full video of the mayhem and despairing cries of “what is this country coming to!?” after the break.
The following video was taken on the streets of Naha, Okinawa’s capital city. Although there is little-to-no actual violence or law-breaking to be found here, the young people’s overly rowdy and boisterous behaviour has shocked many Japanese, who have been quick to brand this generation of young men and women as little more than uncouth small-time gangsters.
People across Japan were shocked to see mostly young men dressed and acting in a “yankee” (an unfortunate term that denotes delinquents or young troublemakers) and chinpira (small-time gang members) on a day that traditionally allows society to catch a glimpse of the country’s future movers and shakers.
Naturally, Japan’s Internet masses had plenty to say on the subject:
Man… Okinawa really is different.
This is so embarrassing.
Every time people say it I think “Oh, shut the hell up!” but now I can’t help but say it myself: what is happening to Japan!?
I’m sure that these people were in the minority, but…
This is pretty awful exposure for Okinawa. Just looking at this makes me not want to go there.
If this is what they’re like walking through the streets, what on earth are their actual parties like?
Wow. I thought this was a yakuza parade or something.
This is the spiritual home of DQN names…
It’s worth noting that there is no evidence of any actual crime being committed in this video and that, even when approached by police and joy-killing members of the patrol, the celebrating masses were mainly co-operative. But when your country’s newest adults come out shouting and looking like the cast of the video game Yakuza with their orange-tinted mullet hair cuts and cigarettes in hand, it’s perhaps understandable that the average Japanese citizen becomes a little concerned about the future of their once proud country.
The youth of today, right guys? Tisk.