Irked by loud attire, Kitakyushu urges young adults to dress right on Coming-of-Age Day


Staff Writer

With Coming-of-Age Day taking place Monday, the city of Kitakyushu has an important message for the attendees: Dress fittingly.

The city says it is tired of seeing what has become a common occurrence at the annual event — new adults dressing inappropriately, spoiling the solemn atmosphere.

In recent years, Kitakyushu’s Coming-of-Age Day ceremonies have been marked by young men wearing vividly colored hakama, a trouser component of the kimono, making them look like hooligans to some.

A number of them also wave flags as they drive around in convertibles to celebrate.

The new women meanwhile are starting to wear a looser-fitting style of kimono that exposes the shoulders in a way used by oiran, the high-class prostitutes of the Edo Period.

“The coming-of-age ceremony is supposed to be a serious event where you demonstrate your recognition that you have become an independent adult,” said Kitakyushu official Yasuhiro Iida.

Fed up with the trends, the city has taken the unprecedented step of setting up a website to educate new 20-year-olds on appropriate attire for the event.

The website, launched last November, followed mounting complaints about inappropriate attire, Iida said.

Groups of fledgling adults erupting into drunken frenzies and sabotaging the events have nearly become synonymous with TV coverage of the holiday in some parts of the nation.

But not all of them are that way. Some put on showy attire and often “turn raucous,” but they don’t necessarily disturb the ceremony itself by vandalizing property or getting into fights, Iida said.

Instead, they show good sense by skipping the event altogether and meet up in a nearby park, he said.

  • tomado

    God save the city of KitaKyushu. Hope the young ones think if more and better ways to stick it to the control-freakish selfish old fogies. They should figure out whatever it is that most upsets the “authorities” and promote the wearing of that. What these old folks most deserve is to have their own hollow moralizing shoved in their faces.

  • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

    Legally speaking, I guess it would be up to the management of each individual shrine management what kind of dress code would be enforced, if at all. It’s certainly understandable that religious/traditional organizations desire to maintain some traditional format at the ceremonies for which they are responsible – and I certainly feel that desire and gratitude for their efforts deserves respect.

    Just a theory, but perhaps the local shrines have collectively reached out to the city for help on this issue, preferring civil public discourse to any attempt to enforce dress codes by their legal prerogative.

    I like those signs you always see at the shrines:
    sekai ga heiwa de arimasu yo ni

  • J.P. Bunny

    Loud clothes on Coming Of Age Day?? The horrors! Aside from NHK, turn on the TV and try to find “adults” wearing clothes that won’t burn out your retinas.

    If the city is fed up with the trend, then don’t hold the ceremony anymore.

  • gpiper

    I’m so sick of hearing the old men whine about the young’s behaviour at these events. Abandoning the event and going off by themselves for their own celebration seems like a good idea. If enough young people do it then it will touch the status quo where it counts – in the pocket book, probably. “Solemn atmosphere”? It’s supposed to be a celebration, not a funeral. Officialdom is the
    problem. Being an independent adult means you are free to do what you want within the law. Kitakyushu city officials are wrong and confused. Maybe they’re sincere. They’re sincerely wrong and confused. City officials are accountable to the adult population, and their duty is to serve. They fail.

  • Jonathan Fields

    Net uyoku spotted. I don’t even know how to respond to something so stupid.

  • J.P. Bunny

    This “long standing” holiday only came into being after WWII, so much for tradition. If one is living and working in Japan, then that person is not a guest. Hosts do not require guests to pay taxes, rent, etc. “Go back to your own country”, please to come up with something more original.

  • gpiper

    Truly, it’s nice to see men and women in traditional attire. But the hypocrisy of the staged event is nauseating.

  • gpiper

    Truly, it’s nice to see men and women in traditional attire. But the hypocrisy of the staged event is nauseating.

  • Shona Sijin Marion McCarthy

    People are saying that the Kitakyushu residents are being too uptight, but if you read the article carefully the problem isn’t just the style of dress; it’s the fact that there are been legitimate cases of vandalism, riots, drunkenness and a general lack of respect. I’m all for creativity, but in a ceremony at a place of worship, where you’re meant to be demonstrating your maturity and sense of responsibility there needs to be some regard for tradition, and some self-discipline. Otherwise there’s no point in holding it.

  • Haruko

    What is the website “to educate new 20-year-olds on appropriate attire for the event”? I would like to see it.