All of Japan has Coming of Age Ceremonies in January, but nowhere has them quite like Kitakyushu.
In Japan, the second Monday of January is a holiday called Seijin no Hi, or Coming of Age Day. To celebrate the start of adulthood, communities hold Coming of Age Ceremonies for residents who have or will be turning 20 in the current school year.
The ceremonies are held at gymnasiums or amphitheaters, usually with the mayor or some other local dignitary making a speech about the opportunities and responsibilities that come with adult life, congratulating the new adults while also reminding them that society looks forward to their great deeds. In keeping with that solemn atmosphere, in most parts of the country attendees show up in suits or kimono of a formal, classically elegant style.
But in Kitakyushu, they do things a little differently.
Yes, Kitakyushu’s new adults roll up their Coming of Age Ceremony in suits and kimono, but these aren’t the understated designs commonly associated with office dress codes and subdued adult social interactions. Instead, the goal at Kitakyushu seems to be trying to out-peacock everyone else in town.
The motivation seems to come from the attendees’ proximity to the borderline between childhood and adulthood. They’re young enough to still enjoy some crazy youthful exuberance, but also old enough that no one can say “no” to their fashion choices.