Bebe Taian: 成人の日: Furisode in Tokyo!

January 16, 2014

成人の日: Furisode in Tokyo!

成人の日 reads as Seijin no Hi, Coming of Age Day. It is the day when a Japanese person is marked as an adult, occurring on the second Monday of January every year. Since year 2000, Seijin no Hi became moved to Monday because of Japan's Happy Monday System of organizing holidays to allow 3-day weekends! Before then it was every 15th of January, and even then, Seijin no Hi as a public holiday only started in 1948.

It seems however, that popularity of the holiday is shrinking, according to some sources. This may be because formalwear for women, especially ofurisode customary to the ritual, is prohibitively expensive! This is increasingly a burden during times of economic hardship, which is being experienced everywhere right now, but Japan is hit especially hard by disasters and burdens afterwards. Since buying a furisode set can cost into the thousands of dollars, most of them are rented or borrowed from an older relative. Even so, many women choose to patronize beauty salons, which offer full service: professional kimono-dressing, hair, and makeup packages. It's a sensible thing to do when most women do not wear kimono anymore!

If popularity of Seijin no Hi is declining, though, you'd never know it from photos around Tokyo... 

Yoshikazu Tsuno - AFP/Getty Images, The Guardian
And yet, this year, there are truly some stunning and very un-traditional ensembles...

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Bright colours are nothing new at these festivals, but (chalked? dyed?) hair! Those bold Taisho-style stripes! Those heels (not zori, like on the right)! The feather kakaeobi! And... Barbies? Yes, those are Barbie dolls tied into the woman's hair on the left! I have no idea what's going on there, but alright, sure, why not? I'd have really loved to ask her what the inspiration for that was, though.

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