TUJ student Adam Glazer reports for Temple Update from Tokyo on a national holiday that signals an important turning point for young adults.
Here is his first report:
Coming of age is celebrated in unique ways by different cultures, in Japan, a nationally celebrated holiday is dedicated to Coming of Age, specifically the 20th birthday. In Japanese culture, the 20th birthday marks the passage into adulthood.
“Coming of the age day used to be on January 15th, til the year 2000,” said Temple University Japan Dorm Manager, Aki Kudo. “After that is set on the second Monday in January,”
As with many Japanese holidays, crowds gather at the various Buddhist Temples to purify themselves and wish for good luck.
In the historic district of Asakusa, the 7th Century Buddhist Temple, Sensoji is one of the popular Temples visited on the holiday.
Coins are customarily thrown before blessings are asked for, which is really a small price to pay for a streak of good luck.
“The right to vote is given to those 20 years old,” said Kudo. “Legal drinking age is 20, legal smoking age is 20.”
Market stalls are set up outside the Temple that boasts an array of interesting street food. Yet being in the presence of a historic building such as Sensoji, one cannot help think of the history that is behind this tradition.
“The origin of the coming of age day dates back to the medieval samurai warlord era,” said Kudo. “Boys after they came of age, were allowed to fight in the battlefields against the other clans.”
While the days of the samurai and warlords are long over, coming of age day is a reminder and honors ones adult responsibilities.
Watch for Adam’s reports from Tokyo all semester long on Temple Update and templeupdate.com