In Japan, adulthood traditionally begins at age 20, when citizens earn the right to drink and smoke legally. Up until 2015, when it was reduced to 18, 20 was also the legal voting age. At local city offices or community centers all over the country, young adults dressed in traditional Japanese attire attend ceremonies commemorating this special day. After the ceremony, throngs of newly minted kimono and hakama-clad adults typically gather at popular areas such as the center of Naha City or Mihama American Village to continue celebrating. In addition to the festivity and color of the event, media coverage usually includes stories of the rowdiness that predictably occurs when groups or individuals overindulge in their newfound privileges.
This once-a-year scene – bustling with colorfully dressed young people celebrating a major milestone in their lives – is a sight to see.