In my native UK, while we’re permitted to drink, smoke, vote and watch (reasonably) naughty movies from the age of 18, our 21st birthday is still recognised as the moment when we become real adults, and are expected, as a result, to stop getting upset when Simba’s dad dies in The Lion King, and to brush our teeth a minimum of twice a day.
In Japan, a seijinshiki (coming of age ceremony) is usually held for a birthday boy or girl on their 20th birthday. They may have long since left school, found a job, started smoking and staying up later than their own parents, but until a person is 20 years old, they are not considered a true adult.
With this in mind, Japanese “Woman Smile Company” Senshukai’s “mama & baby for baby” catalogue has recently listed a new item: a special wooden box-set of 20 birthday cards that a mother (or father!) can pass over to their child upon their “coming of age”.
Already proving to be a big hit with young parents, the box-set has seen a sudden and huge increase in customer orders. Read More