Kitakyushu welcomes its first Coming of Age Ceremony of the Reiwa Era in its typical outrageous fashion(s).

Turning 20 marks the societal threshold for adulthood in Japan. Every year on the second Monday of January, known as Seijin no Hi (Coming of Age Day), crowds of Japanese youths who turned 20 the previous year or who will turn 20 by the coming April take part in a ceremony known as Seijinshiki, the Coming of Age Ceremony, in their hometowns. These ceremonies are quite formal in nature and participants are supposed to don their most elegant suits and kimono–most of the time, that is.

The city of Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture has been turning heads for quite some time now thanks to many of their 20-year-olds decking themselves out in the most garish outfits imaginable to mark their entry into adulthood. It’s become something of a tradition for us as well to send one of our reporters to the city to document each year’s most outlandish get-ups. The kinds of outfits that this particular group of young adults tends to wear would likely give their obaachan a heart attack (unless they were part of this idol group from Osaka).

▼ “Hi, Grandma! We’re ready to drink alcohol now!”

Kitakyushu’s first Seijinshiki of the Reiwa Era saw 20-year-olds gathering excitedly a day early on the morning of Sunday, January 12 at the Kitakyushu Media Dome. Our reporter remarks that this year he was surprised to see bag security checks at the gates leading into the hall. A number of guards were stationed around the grounds as well. Perhaps it was a precaution in case any of the youths became a little too boisterous, as many of their get-ups incorporate elements reminiscent of the subculture styles worn by bosozoku biker gangs or yankee delinquents. A street fight among yankees did break out in Yokohama after last year’s ceremony, after all.

In addition to slight rain the day was also fairly windy, but that didn’t deter the spirits of those on the verge of adulthood. The ceremony processional started promptly at 10:30 am amidst wild cheers. As group after group of costumed characters entered the stadium, there were murmurs in the crowd that “Reiwa is the new Sengoku Jidai (Warring States Era) of Japanese history.”

▼ Ready to become salarymen, or ready to ride off to war?

▼ Seems like slightly impractical gear for defending your lord’s domain…

▼ Well, that’s one way to make an entrance.

As always, the garish costumes didn’t disappoint. The youth seemed to radiate with an invincible aura that resulted in an all-out assault on the senses. “They would win by a landslide if there were a national costume contest,” our reporter mused. It was hard to tell whether the visual spectacle straddled the edge of a bizarre fantasy or a nightmare.

His eyes were immediately drawn to these magical rainbow unicorns in disguise:

▼ Definitely a new character in My Little Pony.

▼ Vibrant ladies with fans take center stage!

In contrast, there were some slightly more subdued, relatively svelte groups as well:

▼ That’s quite some visual pop on a suit.

Everywhere you looked, the hair was big…


And biggest! That’s the most gigantic rizento (pompadour) we’ve ever seen!

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The crowd absolutely lost it when Rat-Man entered the stadium in celebration of 2020 as the Year of the Rat:

Our reporter was particularly anxious to meet “Mr. White Tiger,” who appeared regal with two white tiger plushies adorning his shoulders. The costume had been ordered through popular local shop Miyabi, which our own reporter had visited the day prior to the ceremony. That’s when he first caught wind that someone would actually be wearing the tigers at the ceremony.

Enjoy the rest of the festive scenes as captured by our reporter below!

▼ An Ariel channeling her inner Little Mermaid

▼ Our reporter described many of their outfits as “Olympic gold medal-worthy”–just like this young man’s haori jacket and hakama.

▼ Here we have a mix of the regular and the glamorous.

▼ Impressive coordination

▼ Why wear a kimono when you can wear a frilly blue dress?

▼ Friends to the end

▼ A young family getting in on the fun

▼ The bright red accents beg the question–was this inverse coordination planned??

▼ Those flowers look like they could knock someone out!

▼ For the record, we don’t actually know what’s going on here, but it appears to be the same man who was in an earlier photo of a group wearing suits.

▼ Red trim is the must-have of the season for celebrations.

Of course, there were plenty of young adults wearing ordinary suits and furisode (long-sleeved kimono) as well, but when you’re from Kitakyushu, why not go with the flow? Regardless of your attire, congratulations on becoming adults, 20-year-olds in Kitakyushu and throughout Japan!

All photos © SoraNews24
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