These new adults say sayonara to their youth with colourful hair and gangsta costumes.

The very first public holiday after the New Year’s holiday period in Japan always falls on the second Monday of January, and it’s dedicated to the new generation of young people turning 20, the traditional official age of adulthood.

While everybody around the country enjoys a day off on “Seijin no Hi” (“Coming of Age Day“), as the public holiday is called, nobody celebrates the day quite like the young people at the centre of the celebrations, who customarily take part if they turned 20 during the previous year or will be turning 20 by April of the coming year. 

When it comes to celebrating, nobody does it quite like the new group of adults in Kitakysuhu, who’ve become famous for their outlandish costumes that just seem to get wilder and more vibrant every year.

▼ This is the kind of look that the cool no-longer-kids go for in Kitakuyushu.

Though the gangsta looks might seem loutish and intimidating, it’s simply a fun way for these new adults to bond with friends, many of whom they’ve grown up with in the area. It’s also a good opportunity for them to let their hair down and express themselves one last time before heading out into the sensible world of work, which can sometimes take them off to big cities and away from childhood homes.

▼ For many, this is the last hurrah before entering workplaces with sensible dress codes.

This year was the 20th anniversary of Kitakyushu’s seijinshiki (“coming of age ceremony”) celebrations, so it was a particularly jubilant year. We headed down to the Kitakyushu Media Dome, where the ceremony was held on 8 January, to check out some of the looks on display, and we were blown away by the detail to costumes, hair and accessories.

So let’s take a look at some of the faces of the new generation in Japan, starting with the attendees who kept things simple in classic three-piece suits with a gangsta edge.

Lots of attendees added fans to their outfits, which were printed with their name and the name of their hometown. Accessories like fans are great way to add a sense of occasion to commemorative photos with friends, and act as a memento of the day for years to come.

Even those who posed for photos alone were keen to express their creativity with unique outfits.

While suits were the order of the day for some, for others it was a chance to wear traditional kimono and hakama outfits, taking the look to extremes with colourful hairdos and extravagant coats.

These gents look like an embodiment of the Japanese phrase “kata de kaze o kiru” (literally “cut the wind with your shoulders“), which is used to describe people with such a swagger it’s as if their shoulders slice through the wind.

▼ The pompadours on display were as massive as the shoulders.

While some attendees held personalised folding fans, a lot of groups rallied together with banners emblazoned with the name of their hometowns.

▼ Banners even united those with very different looks on the day.

While some of the handheld banners, like the ones seen above, were easily displayed by individuals, others were so big they needed more than one person to fly them.

▼ Others chose to lay them on the ground for more visual impact.

▼ Extra points to these guys for their extravagant shoulder adornments.

When your pompadour, fur coat, banner and shoulder decoration isn’t enough to make you stand out, why not add a megaphone to your getup?

The men in huge hakama weren’t the only ones adding a colourful spin on tradition, with plenty of gorgeous kimonos on display as well.

▼ While some attendees added bells to their parasols…

▼ …others made an entrance arriving by rickshaw…

▼ …and others appeared to have missed the memo on the dress code.

One of the highlights, though, was the appearance of Ban Nakamura, a local YouTuber who’s participated in mixed martial arts bouts.

A familiar face to a lot of young locals, Nakamura helped the new generation celebrate by inviting them to spar with him.

While a lot of seijinishiki ceremonies are a lot more staid and formal than the one in Kitakyushu, the folks down here don’t shy away from going all-out with the celebrations, with wild costumes and gangsta looks becoming an annual rite of passage.

Like the ceremonies held in 2020, 2021, and 2022, this year’s seijinshiki in Kitakyushu was a day to remember. Heres hoping the future for these new adults is as bright and dazzling as their costumes, which, in case you’re wondering, can be rented from stores like Miyabi, the most outlandish seijinshiki outfit store in Kitakyushu.

Photos © SoraNews24
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