National Holiday
Coming-of-Age Day
(The second Monday of January)

●成人の日 Sejin-no-hi; Coming-of Age Day; Adult’s Day
●成人 adult; grown-up
●新成人 celebrant(本来の意味は「ミサ執行司祭」、「祝賀者」)
●責任 responsibility
●自立 independence; independency; self-help
●選挙権 right to vote
●公職選挙法 the Public Offices Election Law
●飲酒 (alcohol) drinking
●喫煙 smoking; smoke: tobacco
●成人式 Coming-of-Age Day ceremony
●記念品 memorial; (主に旅の土産)souvenir; (正式)relic
●晴れ着 best clothes; Sunday clothes
●未成年 minority; minor; nonage
●少年法 juvenile law

Seijin-no-hi, Coming-of-Age Day, or Adult’s Day, is one of the most important Japanese holidays.

The purpose of Seijin-no-hi is “to be conscious of one’s becoming an adult, and to celebrate and encourage the youth who have become independent”.

It used to be celebrated on January 15th, as was instituted in 1948 (Showa 23rd yr).

However, it was changed to the second Monday of January, in 2000 (Heisei 12th yr), according to a new law called “The Happy Monday System”.

On this day, those who turned 20 years old during the previous year, gather to be recognized as a new member of adult society.

Some prefectures, however, celebrate Seijin-no-hi differently, by honoring those who will turn 20 years old in the coming year.

Most local governments sponsor the ceremony, Seijin-shiki, for the celebrants.

It is a very special and significant ritual because it marks the passage from childhood to adulthood.

Usually those who have relocated to other cities for work or school, return to their hometown to take part in the ceremony.

In rural areas, where the majority of young people have relocated to big cities, Seijin-shiki is held during a long vacation such as the New Year’s vacation or the summer holiday.

Lectures are given by the Mayor and learned people, and parties and other events are held during the ceremony.

Unfortunately, some celebrants cause trouble during the Seijin-shiki by drinking alcohol, quarreling, heckling at speakers, and so on.

Every year, some of them are arrested on charges of forcible obstruction of business, obstruction of performance of official duties and drunk driving.

Women are usually dressed in a beautiful long-sleeved kimono, called furisode, and men wear either their best business suits or kimono.

In 1946 (Showa 21st yr) when World War ll was over, the Constitution of Japan was proclaimed, and all Japanese, both men and women aged 20 and over, had the right to vote in the new Public Offices Election Law.

According to the amendment of the Public Offices Election Law, the voting age has been 18 and over since the election which was officially announced on and after June 22nd, 2016 (Heisei 28th yr).

In 2018 (Heisei 30th yr), the Civil Law that the adult age would be changed from 20 to 18 was amended, and it will be enforced in 2022.

Accordingly, people aged 18 and over will legally be able to make a contract, charge a law suit and get married, but the legal age at which it is possible to smoke, drink and gamble at public facilities will remain 20 and over.


(Please see “My Coming-of-Age Day Experience” for further information.)

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