Kimonos and gangsta flair to celebrate freedom and individuality before conforming to Japanese society. 

Every year in Japan, a new batch of adults celebrates turning 20 with a local seijinishikicoming of age ceremony“. And every year, we head out to Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture, for the biggest, baddest seijinishiki in the country. 

This year, the crowd of new adults, who turned 20 the previous year or who will turn 20 by the coming April, didn’t disappoint, giving us all the flair we’ve come to expect from the ceremony. Unlike a lot of other seijinishiki in Japan, where the attendees dress modestly in suits and kimono, the ceremony in Kitakysuhu is known for its over-the-top fashions, inspired by bosozoku biker gangs and yankee delinquents.

While some of the wild looks may seem intimidating, it’s actually a fun way for young people to express themselves and bond with their friends, before settling into work and new family lives that might take them away from the hometowns they grew up in.

So let’s put on our best pompadour wigs and our broadest shoulder pads and take a stroll through the crowd at Kitakyushu Media Dome, where Kitakyushu’s seijinshiki was held this year on 9 January. We’ve got over 100 looks for you to enjoy, ranging from national costumes through to casual wear, three-piece suits, and even a stuffed tiger thrown into the mix.

First off, let’s head on over to the groups with the biggest hair, the biggest banners, and the biggest looks.

▼ This young gent stole the show with his rainbow outfit and rainbow hair.

▼ He might look hard, but he’s not too shy to pull out a peace sign pose with his mates!

He wasn’t the only punk bringing rainbows to this year’s event, but he didn’t have to feel awkward about being caught in the same outfit as someone else — it’s the accessories that make you stand out, especially if you invest in a banner that announces your name and hometown.

▼ By the looks of this banner, our next young rainbow punk is Shunto Ono from Kitakyushu’s Tobata Ward.

▼ He also added a pop of colour to his dark-suited mates.

On the other hand, this rainbow punk gave his shoulders a boost with a garland of coloured roses to stand out from the crowd.

Heading over to the dark side, we have a group dressed in shades of black and claret, with pompadour wigs sprayed to resemble the national flag…and a reverse national flag?

▼ The pompadour wigs were so great we needed to admire them from all angles.

These lads held banners that proudly announced they were outsiders from Nakama, a nearby city that once almost became a ward of Kitakyushu in 2004.

Thankfully, nobody was here to start a turf war, though, as there was a fun, celebratory mood in the air. It almost felt as if all types of clans were congregating to show the world their pride for the island of Kyushu, and how their celebrations are a world apart from anything you’d see on mainland Japan.

▼ A time when matching looks isn’t a divisive topic but a show of camaraderie.

And if you don’t have a banner heralding your hometown to the world, you can always opt for matching fans with your name and ‘hood on them.

▼ Or go all out with fans and a banner.

There are no rules when it comes to what to wear or how you should celebrate, as this is the last hurrah of freedom for many before becoming sensible, conforming adults.

▼ If you want to celebrate turning 20 in the Year of the Tiger with a tiger draped over your shoulders, go ahead! No one will stop you!

Freedom and individual expression was the order of the day, with a huge variety of personalities on display.

▼ Some wore hakama with a modern twist…

▼ …others opted for casual attire…

▼ …while others went for suits, in a wide variety of dapper styles.

▼ Some people chose to wear costumes from abroad, adding personal twists to suit their style.

▼ It was mostly a sea of kimonos on the day, though, and no two outfits were the same.

▼ Some took a more traditional route with their kimonos…

▼ …while others added boots and fashionable accessories for a modern-day Taisho look.

▼ This lady went all out displaying her love for Anpanman.

▼ This group made their presence felt with personalised parasols and balloons.

▼ This duo matched their outfits with massive fans that were half their size!

Fans were definitely some of the most popular accessories in the crowd, which makes sense because although a lot of the outfits are rentals that need to be returned at the end of the day, these personalised accessories can be kept forever as mementos of the once-in-a-lifetime event.

▼ You’ll need a bit of storage space to store these huge banners, though!

▼ One other popular accessory was the peace sign, which costs nothing to spruce up your look.

Like previous years, Kitakyushu’s 2022 seijinshiki was a great day out for all involved, and we’d like to wish all these new adults the best of luck with their futures. If it’s as bright and dazzling as their costumes, their futures are sure to be successful, just like our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma’s, who had his own coming of age ceremony at the ripe old age of 40, thanks to Miyabi, the most outlandish seijinshiki outfit store in Kitakyushu.

Photos © SoraNews24
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