Coming of Age Ceremony: How Should I Dress? | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Coming of Age Ceremony: How Should I Dress?

By Aika Kaise Jan 10, 2019

1. Dressing up for Coming of Age Ceremony!



Do you know what coming of age ceremony is and how it is held in Japan?
In addition to that, do you know how you should dress and where you should go?
It is a ceremony to congratulate people who will be turning 20 years in that year in Japan, and the participants dress up to attend it.
I would advise you to dress up for it although there are no official rules stating that you should.
The reason is that the ceremony is held at an official place, and it might be seen as rude if you do not dress up for it.
How you should dress is different depending on your gender.
This article will talk about what coming of age ceremony is, and how you should dress to participate in it, and what you should prepare for it.

There are various kinds of events held by the executive committee, and it would also be very fun to attend and enjoy these events.
What they do is different from each city, but there are various games that are played such as bingo.
In addition to that, you may be able to meet your old friends from when you were in elementary to high school student.
It is usually a wonderful thing to be able to see them again, and you may be surprised to see how they have changed.
It is a very unique ceremony in Japan.

Now, let’s see what coming of age ceremony is in detail.


2. What is Coming of Age Ceremony?


In the past, the ceremony has been held on the second Monday in January every year since 2000 in Japan, and it is the ceremony of celebrating people who become 20 years old in the year in Japan.

First of all, coming of age ceremony was started in 1948 in Japan, and it was held on January 15th every year until 1999.
The system has, however, changed. In 2000, it was changed to being held on the second Monday in January and has been held at that time every year since then.
Because the system is set in this way, the exact date of the ceremony is pretty much different every year.
After 2000, the second Monday in January became a national holiday every year in Japan, and many people celebrate for people who become 20 years old in the year.

In your country, at what age are young ones considered to be adults?
In Japan, this age is 20 years.
Actually, the age when people are regarded as an adult in Japan is older than other countries in the world.
Most countries set it to 18 years old when people become adult.
For example, countries like Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, India, China, etc., consider 18 years as a reasonable age for people to become adults. The US can also be included in these, however, it has 2 age when people become adults, 18 and 21.
There are a few countries where 20 years old is the “coming of age” age all over the world as well.
There are, however, some countries where this age is 21 years old, and they are
Argentina, Egypt, Singapore, and the US can also be considered.
As you can see from the above, the “adult” age in Japan is older than most other countries in the world.

As young ones become adult, there are various changes that happen in their daily lives in Japan.
For example, drinking, smoking, and getting a loan are permitted legally from 20 years old in Japan.

Is there coming of age ceremony in your country?

Now, let’s see where you should go to attend the ceremony.



3. Where should I go to for the ceremony?

Do you know where you should go to in order to participate in the coming of age ceremony?
If you are a resident in Japan, you will receive a postcard on which the information of the ceremony including the venue is written.
It depends on each city where the ceremony is held.
Usually, it is held at a community center or public hall, so please confirm where you should visit by checking the postcard.
Fun fact, there is a special city in Japan which holds its own ceremony at a special place in Japan.
Do you have any idea which city this is?
It is a city in the Chiba prefecture, Urayasu city. Their ceremony is held at Tokyo Disney Land!
Because usually these ceremonies are held at the public hall, many people in Japan feel jealous of the people who live in that area and are able to go to the Tokyo Disney Land!


4. How Should I Dress Up For Coming of Age Ceremony?



Actually, it is not decided in detail what you should wear at the coming of age ceremony.
Many people, however, dress up formally and you might be looked at strangely by other people if you participate in it with casual clothes.
Therefore, I recommend you to prepare to dress up formally so that you are welcomed by everyone.

For men, the most common attire is a suit, but it is also nice to wear a Hakama (a Japanese skirt for formal wear).
Furthermore, you are able to borrow Hakama from shops, and I would recommend you to borrow it because you may not have a chance to wear it again in your life after finishing coming of age ceremony.
It is, however, also nice to buy it in case you are interested in Japanese traditional clothes.
You are able to buy it at shops or internet web page as well.
In case if you decide to borrow it, there are ways to either borrow it directly from the shops or through the internet.
If you borrow it from the internet, they will send a Hakama to you through a post, and you need to return it by the deadline date through the post again.
Please be careful not to allow it to get dirty while you borrow it, otherwise, they will ask you to pay for the cleaning and washing.
I recommend you to thoroughly check whether if there are any stains or not on it before returning it.

For women, they often wear formal attire like Furisode (long-sleeved kimono).
It is the most common dress for women who attend this ceremony.
You will be able to find a rental shop on the internet web page as well.
It can be borrowed from a rental shop the same way you get the Hakama.

I believe it would be a very nice experience for you to wear the Japanese traditional dress if you have a chance to participate in it!



5. What Type of Things Happen On The Coming of Age Ceremony?


It depends on each region what events are done at the ceremony, but the basic one is the following.

a. Reception
b. Opening Ceremony
c. Ceremony
d. Events by Executive Committee
e. Commemorative Photo
f. Ending Ceremony

The most similar thing that happens at the ceremony is that the mayor of the city gives a speech.
After that, the events change according to the plan of each city.
For example, there are some cities where they play bingo.
Then, they take a commemorative photo.
The style is also different between each city, but usually, it is taken divided by graduated schools, school district, or all participants together.

Some people may have a party among friends who met on that day after ending the ceremony.
The one thing you need to be careful is that people who are still 19 years old on the day of coming of age ceremony are not able to drink at a party because it is illegal in Japan.
In Japan, the age which is permitted to drink is 20 and over, so please remember it so that you will get in trouble!

And if you wondering, you are not forced to participate in it, and you are able to decide whether you would like to join it or not.
Actually, there are many people who do not participate in it as well.
There are many reasons why they do not join it.
For example, because it costs to prepare the dress for it, because they do not have time to join it, or because they do not have good memories when they were students and they do not want to meet their friends, etc.
I recommend, however, you to participate in it because it is only one time when you are able to join it in your whole life.



6. Conclusion: Let’s get dressed for coming of Age Ceremony!



Are you interested in coming of age ceremony in Japan now?

It is one of Japan’s most unique cultures. I believe it would be a great experience to attend one if you are available.
It is the ceremony to celebrate people who become 20 years old in the year, and it was started in 1948.

You are able to get an invitation by post if you become 20 years old and have a residence in Japan.
All information will be written there including where you should go.
The venue is different between each city, so you need to confirm where it will be held.

After you decide to participate in it, you need to prepare for dressing up for it although there are no official rules for dressing up. However, be careful and make sure to dress up so ass not to be seen as being rude.
When you dress up, what you should wear is different based on your gender.
If you are a man, it would be a good idea to wear a suit.
It is also okay to wear Hakama which is one of Japanese traditional clothes.
There are, however, many men who choose a suit for dressing up because they are able to prepare very easily.

For women, Furisode, which is Japanese traditional clothes, is more popular, and it is the best dress for participating in the ceremony.
It is also able to be found on the internet web page, and you are able to get it by post on the same day you buy it.
The way how you send it back is also very easy, and what you need to do is just putting it in a box and send it back to the shop.

If you graduated Japanese school, you may be able to find your friends who have not been met for years.
It is very fun to share information with them and get to know what they do now and their recent situation.
Many of them may be university students, but some of them may be already working at a company, and some of them might have already have gotten married!
It is also possible that some of them already have babies.
It will be a big surprise for you to get to know what your old friends are up to now.
It is also very fun to see your boyfriend or girlfriend when you were in high school, and you may be shocked or pleased to see his or her appearance now.
You may be surprised to see him or her got more handsome or beautiful, otherwise well you already know:)

How do you feel about the Coming of Age ceremony in Japan?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Aika Kaise / Japan