Sunday, January 18, 2015

Adulthood

In Japan, every second Monday of January is a national holiday to celebrate the 成人の日 Seijin no Hi or Coming of Age Day. Twenty-year-olds don kimonos (female) or suits (male) to welcome adulthood.

peek


It was my first time to experience this as I usually go back home during new year holidays. Tracing back history, 
Coming of age ceremonies have been celebrated in Japan since at least 714 AD, when a young prince donned new robes and a hairstyle to mark his passage into adulthood. The holiday was first established in 1948, to be held every year on January 15. In 2000, as a result of the Happy Monday System, Coming of Age Day was changed to the second Monday in January. more here
adulttwenty

I and my friends went to Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine) to witness the event. Most of the young adults visit the shrine to pray as they celebrate a milestone in their lifetime. So much happiness are painted on their faces.

happiness

Since most of the celebrants are with their family, as photographers, we asked permission from the parents if we can take photos of their daughters. Some even requested to their family photos.

kawaii

Dolls

dolls in kimonos
twenty years in a box world
blessed by winter dawn
echoes of wooden sandals
dancing dolls in kimonos

/totomai
for Poetry Pantry 235

Some of them manage to take their own photos. We have to thank social media and smart phones for it. Selfies.

selfierecord

However, there was a notable decrease in attendance. And this is becoming a concern to older generation. 
Japan's low birth rate and shrinking percentage of young people, coupled with disruptions to some ceremonies in recent years (such as an incident in Naha in 2002, when drunken Japanese youths tried to disrupt the festivities) and a general increase in the number of 20-year-olds who do not feel themselves to be adults have led to decreased attendance of the ceremonies, which has caused some concern among older Japanese. more here
adulthood

It is one of the unique celebrations I've seen in the world. And I hope the 20 year olds of the next generations will not take for granted the tradition. 

 おめでとうございます 
Welcome to adulthood! 

 /totomai 
2015/01/18

49 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post Totomai...full of joy as adulthood should be

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    1. Wish I can be a young adult again haha. Thanks Jae

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    2. I think you are - your photos shine of youth!

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  2. I really enjoyed the way you described this tradition, Totomai. It does sound like a very old-fashioned tradition, but I feel as you do...hoping it will continue into the future. I think it is good to embrace the past. I could see the looks of delight and pride on the faces of the young women. "Echoes of wooden sandals, dancing dolls in kimonos" expresses very well the sense of history. And YOUR photos were, as always, wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Mary. I am not sure if young men were there as I can only see the young women in kimonos. Well, the females are easier to spot because of the kimonos. Yeah, how I wish the tradition continues.

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  3. dolls in kimonos...held in the box 20 years....nice capture of the the tradition...i love the garb...and think that the colors and even additions of the fur and such is an interesting modern touch to the traditional outfits....coming of age in any culture is a huge crossroads....wonderful pics totomai

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    1. i asked about the fur, they told me it's part of the kimono used during winter.

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  4. Apparently we humans need landmarks and rituals. They help us shape who we become. Without traditions, we are lost. I love the words you used in your poem as they seem to connect the photos and event to tradition.

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    1. absolutely true. these traditions are factors of establishing our identities.

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  5. they do look like dolls... lovely and colorful... thanks for sharing this cultural piece

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    1. my pleasure. it was my first time to take part and would love to go again if even a chance

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  6. -Impressions of color and light of loose and of tight, old and new, and transitions-
    what an exciting post.! It looks like a celebration of self, and also like a fashion show.
    I like the combination of poem and history, so that the laughing dolls from teh boxes are set free.

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    1. the long awaited freedom. these girls deserve it. i heard that they started going the salon early as 3 am to have their kimonos, hair and make-up fixed

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  7. How interesting to witness and be part of the celebration ~ I specially love the women in kimonos & wooden sandals ~ Your notes are very educational ~ Thanks for sharing your journey with us Kababayan ~

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    1. my pleasure kabayan :) they absolutely are beautiful in kimonos :)

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  8. Such beautiful photos and the words to capture the essence of the ceremony.

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  9. I love the colorful kimonos ~ beautiful pictures and interesting post. I hope the tradition continues. You have captured the happiness in the young women's faces.

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    1. it was a very good opportunity for photographers too. everyone's happy. positive vibes.

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  10. First of all the pictures are amazing.. I especially love the picture of them taking selfies..they are dolls indeed.. and that echo of the past into the future.. the decline in birth rate is a problem in so many places...

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    1. must be because of the economic situation thus the decline of birthrate. their parents were very happy after showing the selfie pic :)

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  11. oh wow... that is a cool celebration... love the colorful kimonos as well and the tradition and modernity in the one shot where they take a selfie - so cool

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    1. t'was like the past meets the present :)

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  12. I so enjoyed this post. As always your photos are so colorful and glorious to look at. Such beautiful young women and kimonos.......love the explanation of the historical event. And your poem is so lovely. I especially loved "blessed by winter dawn". And I could hear those wooden sandals.

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    1. japanese are not the most religious persons in the world but they know when to pray for blessings and guidance :)

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  13. Perhaps many do not want to be part of the adult world yet. I love this ceremony and how the old and new traditions are intermingled. Lovely pictures and verse about these 'dancing dolls'.

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    1. could be. some wanted to remain as youngsters.

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  14. Lovely post Totomai, with luminescent writing and dazzling photos, full of the joy of life - truly uplifting, my friend - thank you... With Best Wishes as ever Scott www.scotthastie.com

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    1. thanks Scott. by the way, enjoyed the photos of Japan you sharec at PU.

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  15. They really look like dolls, but - with responsibilities for they -adults. Hope next generation will show increase in attendance the ceremony. Cool post!

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    1. We all have the same hopes for the tradition

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  16. A butterfly from the cocoon. Beautiful.
    ZQ

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  17. The photos definitely stole the show. I really like the one with the iPhone it. It brings the old and the new together. The poem was beautifully written.

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  18. Good poem, what a great set of pictures.

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  19. Lovely shots of these young beauties.

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  20. Coming of age is so special wherever you are but clearly in Japan it is beautiful as well.

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    1. One of the many events I am looking forward to witness again

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  21. as usual your photos are stunning. they really do justice to these lovely ladies. :)
    i think such traditions define a culture, and it would be sad if these are eroded away.
    thanks for sharing the photos, poem & historical notes.

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    1. Thanks DS! It's always good to exchange cultural knowledge to anyone.

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  22. Thanks for sharing...
    Vibrant snaps!

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    1. I can't stop taking photos. Thanks Loco!

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any thoughts to distill?

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