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Monday was Coming of Age day in Japan, an annual celebration held on the second Monday of January where those who have turned 20 over the past year come together to celebrate while everyone else gets a day off work. There are ceremonies (seijin shiki) held at local and prefectural offices and of course many after-parties where I’m sure everyone acts as maturely as befits a young adult. In Kitakyushu things got a bit wild, with a substantial number of kids turning up with crazy pimped out outfits and hair.

Twenty (hatachi) is the age of majority in Japan, as well as the legal drinking age. While the passage into adulthood has long been celebrated in Japan, I’m sure that the latter part of it has something to do with the enthusiasm with which fledgling adults celebrate it these days. It’s also an excuse to dress up to the nines. Most women wear a special style of kimono called a furisode along with a white fur stole and get their hair professionally done at a salon. Men usually wear a traditional hakama, although many these days choose a suit.

However, in Kitakyushu a trend has developed in recent years for guys and girls to get gaudy custom-made outfits, and for the girls to show off some skin like old-time courtesans.

Anyone remember yankii? Yankii were delinquent n’er do wells who were in high school gangs like something out of Grease. They liked motorbikes, cigarettes, and Danny Zuko hair. You might think they died out in the 90s, but the pictures from Kitakyushu’s coming of age ceremonies say otherwise. However it might just be for this one day as they say goodbye to the innocence of youth and have one last hurrah before the bland life of a salaryman swallows their individuality. On the other hand, maybe they’ll carry on rocking their wild style well into old age, like the Elvis lookalikes you find hanging around Yoyogi Park.

No glass bottles.
No real OR fake swords.
No megaphones.
No large flags.

Everyone took careful note of the rules… and then completely ignored them.

It sounds like everyone had a great time and, despite the typical complainers moaning about Japan going to the dogs, we think that celebrating the end of childhood should be a bright and brash affair rather than a solemn rite reminiscent of a funeral. You’re not dead – you’ve just become an adult! 

Source: HamuSoku, Naver Matome, Twitter
Images: Twitter