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Adulthood starts from Monday

Date Posted: 2004-01-09

Itís a very big day for youth about to make the transition to being an adult. Monday is the Coming-of-Age Day, or Seijin no Hi, which celebrates young men and women who turn 20, thus becoming legally adults. Itís also a Japanese legal holiday.

Traditionally, local governments organize a ceremony known as a seijinshiki (adult ceremony) to honor the "new adults." The ceremony is usually held in the morning and every young adult residing in the area is invited to attend.

At the ceremony, government officials give speeches and attending young adults are given a small present. Young women usually dress for the occasion in colorful kimonos called furisode, that are characterized with their long sleeves. whereas most young men don business suits.

In Japan, 20 is the legal age for voting, drinking and smoking. In the past few years, the dayís celebrations have been marred by numerous ďnew adultsí behavior being less than adult. That misbehavior has become serious to the point that some municipalities have decided to cancel the whole event.

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