History of Japan – The Origins of Coming of Age Day

Last Monday marked Coming of Age Day across Japan. Traditionally an important day in the life of youths and their families, the holiday revolves around coming of age ceremonies (成人式 seijin-shiki) at which the country’s 20-year-olds are welcomed into adult life. Along with their legal responsibilities, on this day, new adults in Japan celebrate their rights to (legally) purchase and smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and vote.

With a celebration so important that it deserves its own national holiday, it’s worth looking back into the past to try to track the origins of this ceremony. Continue reading