Unlike many other countries, in Japan, twenty can be called somewhat of a lucky number and certainly represents the age when a person begins to have many more rights, privileges and responsibilities. Once a person turns twenty in Japan, they will be made to follow adult laws. What was once seen as a juvenile offense is an adult action in the eyes of the government. Along with that, these twenty-year-olds will also be legally allowed to drink alcoholic beverages, smoke tobacco and to vote: two privileges that are seen as adult activities in the majority of countries.
The Coming Age of Day does not simply pass by; there is a ceremony that is held for those who are passing from young adult to adult. The ceremony that marks this occasion is called seijin shiki. There are strong traditions that hold this ceremony to follow certain rules. It begins on the morning of January fifteenth. Many people are invited; in fact usually all people who are living in the vicinity are invited. Government representatives partake in the Coming Age of Day, as well. They will give speeches to those attending. In addition, the adults who are honored on this day will usually be given some type of gift from the government official.
The day is not to be taken lightly and those who participate in the Coming Age of Day will most certainly dress for the occasion. Females will wear a kimono and it is usually a furisode one; this means that the sleeves are much longer and wider than those worn by married women. In holding with strong Japanese tradition, females are not to dress themselves on this day. There are women who are designated as kimono kitsukes, who will put the dress on the young women. Holding with culture, females are to wear slippers that are usually only worn for this specific event. Because the slipper-type shoes are only worn once in a female’s life, many find them to be uncomfortable and it is sometimes quite a feat to keep them on for the night. They have been known to cause temporary discomfort and this may results in soreness and swelling. Stylists will fashion the young woman’s hair, as well. Females will take time to put on special makeup and the ritual of preparing for the day can take hours. Males have it a bit easier and simpler; they will wear suits or even a kimono as well, but if so, it is usually a very dark colored one.
The Coming Age of Day lives up to the word celebration, as after the speeches are finished and gifts are passed out; those who are being honored will party the night away. Now able to drink alcohol, many will on this night as they attend various parties.