Even the girl’s own father couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

In Japan, the second Monday of January is set aside as a national public holiday called “Sejin no Hi“, or “Coming of Age Day“. On this special occasion, people who will be turning 20 during the year (the age of adulthood by Japanese law) celebrate by wearing glamorous kimonos and attending Coming of Age ceremonies at local and prefectural offices, before going off to parties with family and friends.

It’s a particularly momentous day for parents, who have to come to terms with the fact that their little ones have now officially entered adulthood, but for one Japanese father the day came with a humorous twist, after his daughter turned around and showed him the pattern on the glamorous obi sash wrapped around her beautiful kimono.

At first glance, the patterns on the sash appear to show the different phases of the moon in three perpendicular columns. There’s even a rabbit on some of the circular images, which is another nod to the moon, as people in Japan believe the pattern on the lunar surface represents a rabbit pounding rice.

However, this girl’s father saw something very different when he looked at the obi, leaving this comment alongside the image:

“The obi on my daughter’s Coming-of-Age Ceremony kimono is an eyesight test chart!
When you look at it closely, you can see the Landolt rings have been turned into moons, with rabbits in there too. 
I had no idea obi like this existed!”

In Japan, Landolt rings (originally developed by the Swiss-born ophthalmologist Edmund Landolt) are a series of broken rings commonly used to test a person’s eyesight. 

▼ A Japanese Vision Test Chart can be seen on the right of the image below.

As most people undergo yearly health checks in Japan, these Landolt rings are immediately recognisable, even when they’re disguised as cute phases of the moon on the back of an elegant obi sash. So as soon as this photo appeared online, people across the country began sharing the image, with many wondering where they could get their hands on such a unique piece of material.

While some kimono store employees left comments saying they had never seen an obi like this before, one user noticed the small rabbit logo on the obi belonged to the Kyoto-based Omoiya kimono store. The father confirmed this was the store where his wife and daughter had purchased their ceremonial garments from, with a lot of thought and care put into creating the perfect outfit for their daughter’s special day.

It’s not unusual for some families to spend thousands of dollars on Coming-of-Age ceremonies so it’s highly likely that an obi as unique as this would have set them back a fair bit. To see more extravagant costumes from the day, take a look at this crazy photo collection from the young people at Kitakyushu. Money is no object when it comes to looking good on your Coming of Age Day!

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Twitter/@starwalker0202
Insert image: Wikipedia/Sergei Golovin and D. A. Sivtsev