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03:17

Japanese enter adulthood with raucous rite of passage

Japan, Fukuoka
January 12, 2020 at 15:52 GMT +00:00 · Published

Young men and women celebrated crossing the threshold into adulthood with a bang in the southern city of Fukoka on Sunday.

Participants dressed in formal, colourful and playful attire to mark the occasion.

Coming of Age Day, known as Seijin Shiki in Japanese, usually falls on the second Monday of January, and honours persons who have reached the age of 20.

The tradition dates back to at least 714AD, when a young prince donned new robes and a hairstyle. The celebration has taken on a new meaning since then, involving outbreaks of drunkenness.

Turning 20 brings new responsibilities as well as new liberties, such as being able to drive, drink, smoke and gamble.

Japan's shrinking birth rate, with deaths outpacing births for over a decade, has cast a shadow on the event.

The nation's Ministry of Welfare declared that the number of newborn babies fell below 900,000 in 2019, the lowest figure since the country started keeping records in 1899, with estimates for the number of deaths reaching 1,376,000 in the same year.

03:17
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Description

Young men and women celebrated crossing the threshold into adulthood with a bang in the southern city of Fukoka on Sunday.

Participants dressed in formal, colourful and playful attire to mark the occasion.

Coming of Age Day, known as Seijin Shiki in Japanese, usually falls on the second Monday of January, and honours persons who have reached the age of 20.

The tradition dates back to at least 714AD, when a young prince donned new robes and a hairstyle. The celebration has taken on a new meaning since then, involving outbreaks of drunkenness.

Turning 20 brings new responsibilities as well as new liberties, such as being able to drive, drink, smoke and gamble.

Japan's shrinking birth rate, with deaths outpacing births for over a decade, has cast a shadow on the event.

The nation's Ministry of Welfare declared that the number of newborn babies fell below 900,000 in 2019, the lowest figure since the country started keeping records in 1899, with estimates for the number of deaths reaching 1,376,000 in the same year.

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