Unlike in the U.S., legal adulthood in Japan doesn’t begin until the age of 20. But while that means an extra two years to enjoy the benefits and protection society affords to minors, everyone has to grow up sometime, and for one Japanese Twitter user the transition was especially abrupt.
On his 20th birthday as his parents presented him with a written notice congratulating him on graduating from childhood and celebrating his newfound freedoms, while spelling out exactly what they, and the world, now expected of him as an adult.
Twitter user @zamayuma1004’s birthday was last weekend, and this year he hit the two-decade mark. On his special day, his parents presented him with this festive-looking envelope.
長谷川雄麻 (@zamayuma1004) October 06, 2015
Normally when someone hands you something like this on your birthday, you expect a birthday card, and the envelope did indeed have “Happy birthday” written on it. What was inside, though, was a little less orthodox.
長谷川雄麻 (@zamayuma1004) October 04, 2015
The paper reads:
Happy 20th Birthday!
Notice of Expiration of Child-Rearing Services
As of October 4, 2015, your father, Yoshikazu Hasegawa, and mother, Chiaki Hasegawa, have completed their duties of raising their child: you, Yuma Hasegawa.
Going forward, please become a proper and responsible member of society, like your father and mother. In addition, should you continue living in the Hasegawa family home, please make a monthly payment of 20,000 yen [US$168] for rent, utility, and grocery expenses. Also, please be aware that should you ask for a loan from your parents, interest will be charged.
Points to note upon reaching the age of 20
● You must make compulsory national pension payments. If you put this off it will cause problems, so make the payments.
● Should you commit a crime, your face and name can now be shown on television and in newspapers. You will also have a permanent criminal record.
● You can now buy alcohol and tobacco products. Do not drive while intoxicated.
● You can get married without your parents’ permission. However, they may not emotionally accept your wife as their daughter-in-law if you don’t discuss the situation without them beforehand.
● Think responsibly about the future and set aside an adequate amount of savings from the money you earn.
Please enjoy your life as an adult.
Although the document might sound the like the grumblings of a pair of exasperated parents who’ve reached the limits of their patience, @zamayuma1004 says they’ve got their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks. He’s actually been paying the monthly amount mentioned for rent and expenses since last year, and he hopes to do even more to help his parents out in the future.
That said, this is a documented case of pretty tough love by Japanese standards, considering that at the age of 20 much of the population is still attending college or trade school, and that it’s customary to continue living with your parents until getting married or school or work takes you away from your home town. Still, it’s hard to argue with any of the things @zamayuma1004’s parents are saying as they tell him not to let the door of his childhood hit him in the butt on his way out of it.