Celebrating Coming of Age in Japan

Coming-of-age-day-in-Japan-550pxIf you are in Japan on the second Monday of January, you’ll see many young people out and about dressed in their very best,  girls especially looking beautiful in their elaborate kimonos.

The second Monday of January is Coming-of-Age Day (成人の日, Seijin-no-Hi), a Japanese national holiday to celebrate youth entering adulthood, and encouraging them to become responsible members of society.

Ceremonies are typically held in the morning at local city offices throughout Japan. After the ceremonies, young adults will often visit their local shrines followed by partying with friends or family at home or restaurants.

Coming of age ceremonies have been celebrated in Japan since the eighth century Nara period. At that time, they were observed on the day of the first full moon of the year in January. The national holiday was first established in 1948, to be held every year on January 15, and in 2000 it was changed to the second Monday in January.

Furisode, Kimono of Unmarried Women

Furisode-long-sleeved-kimono-275pxJapanese kimonos come in varying styles. On this day, many women wear furisode (long-sleeved kimono). Furisode is the most gorgeous form of kimono, only worn by unmarried women.

Furisode is typically made of very fine, brightly colored silk. Popular colors include reds and pinks, and delicate shades of purple, beige, green and various pastel colors.

Motifs are bold and striking. They include patterns based on classical renderings and floral patterns such as plum, cherry and chrysanthemum.

Elaborate hairdo and manicures are coordinated with the colors and patterns of the furisode, topped with large corsages and floral hair pins for additional flair.

Feet are encased in ‘zori’ sandals, made from rice straw or lacquered wood, and Japanese socks called ‘tabi’, ankle-high and with a separation between the big toe and other toes.

Yoshi

Yoshi

Yoshi is a contributing editor for Miyazaki Whispers. She holds a 5-dan rank in Japanese Kyudo Archery, and has lived and worked in Japan, UK and US in global marketing and as an IT localization professional. Yoshi's interests are Japanese and western cuisine and kimono art.
Yoshi

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Yoshi

About Yoshi

Yoshi is a contributing editor for Miyazaki Whispers. She holds a 5-dan rank in Japanese Kyudo Archery, and has lived and worked in Japan, UK and US in global marketing and as an IT localization professional. Yoshi's interests are Japanese and western cuisine and kimono art.
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