For young adults in Japan today is an important day. January 15th is Coming Of Age Day or seijin no hi (成人の日). This day, celebrated all the way back since 714 AD, celebrates a young adult who has turned 20 years old and is ready to begin the life of full adulthood, enter the workforce, etc. It’s an exciting day as people dress up, have parties with friends and family, before they make the first plunge into the workforce.
I have a photo of my wife during her seijin-shiki (成人式), or celebration ceremony, where she dresses in a bright, flashy pink kimono with long-sleeves (furisode 振袖) and has her hair done up very modern and stylish with hairpins and such. I have to admit I really enjoy this picture of her. She looks so vibrant and pretty that day, and it makes me very proud to see this, so the photo sits prominently on my bookshelf in the den. In the same photo, you can see her friends who also turned 20 this same year also dressed in bright red kimonos and waving to the camera.
According to Wikipedia, the festival was originally only intended for princes of the Court when they would don new robes and transition into adulthood, but like so many other things in Japan, the ancient Court and its aristocratic families were the trend-setters, but the tradition eventually spread to the population at large.
The age of 20 was an interesting time for me too. At that age, I found my first girlfriend ever (albeit very short-lived), lived away from home, and had my first part-time job in the Information Technology field. So, I can imagine how exciting things are for 20-year-old kids this year, and how stressful it can be. Today is a nice chance to celebrate and get some rest before starting a new life.
Good luck to everyone turning 20 this year!
P.S. Job prospects are especially rough this year, so they’ll need all the luck they can get.