The second Monday of January is Coming-of-Age Day, a national holiday to encourage those who have newly entered adulthood to become self-reliant members of society.
(The holiday used to be on January 15, but in 2000 it was moved to the second Monday of the month.)
Five women celebrate their coming of age in elaborate furisode outfits in the photo above. This is one of the rare times, yet, when young women wear kimono.
Municipal governments host special coming-of-age ceremonies for 20-year-olds, since an “adult” in Japan is legally defined as one who is 20 or over. They gain the right to vote on their twentieth birthday, and they’re also allowed to smoke and drink. But along with these rights come new responsibilities as well, and so age 20 is a big turning point for the Japanese.
Coming-of-age ceremonies have been held since time immemorial in Japan. In the past boys marked their transition to adulthood when they were around 15, and girls celebrated their coming of age when they turned 13 or so. During the Edo period (1603-1868), boys had their forelocks cropped off, and girls had their teeth dyed black. It wasn’t until 1876 that 20 became the legal age of adulthood.
These days, males generally wear suits to their coming-of-age ceremony, but a lot of females choose to wear traditional furisode (foo-ree-soe-day) – a special type of kimono for unmarried women with extra-long sleeves and elaborate designs. For unmarried women, furisode is about the most formal thing they can wear, and so many of them don it to the event marking the start of their adult life. Due to the complexity of putting on the kimono, many women will visit a beauty salon to be dressed and have their hair styled for the occasion. Once dressed many families will visit the local ward office for the official ceremony and then after visit a shrine to celebrate and take photos. Or they will at least have their beautician, who has to be licensed in kimono make-up and know how to help work with traditional kimono, take their photo when they are ready. (off the internet)
Being an adult in any country is a great privilege that comes with responsibility. Many of these young people, who are now considered to be an adult, may yet have never even heard of the name of Jesus Christ. If only this maturity time would also bring the opportunity to hear of the Gospel!! We pray for these that they will desire to know of the one true God. For God has given the warning in Proverbs chapter 1:29-33 where it says,
For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:
They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Their future could be wonderfully blessed no matter what comes if they only know Christ as their Savior.