Coming of Age Day is a day to celebrate adulthood for Japanese people across the country. It is a gazetted public holiday on the second Monday of every January. On this day, adults who turn 20 in that year return to their home city to participate in the huge event where they dress up, watch performances, and get together with their friends many of whom might be living elsewhere in the country for work or further studies.
On this day, the cities and towns give gifts to these new adults that they deem most appropriate for their adulthood or something famous from where they come from. These gifts also reveal a lot about the area.
* video at the bottom of this post
For example, as Fukui is well-known for their glasses, new adults of Sabae city in Fukui are given spectacles (although I’m not clear about the practicality of it). First, being the countryside, I’m just guessing there’s likely to be fewer students with poor eyesight. Second, those with good eyesight probably have no interest in using it as a fashion item. Third, those who actually need it would still have to get the lenses done. But the third point probably makes most sense to companies.
In Asahi town of Yamagata, new adults are given wine made from grapes harvested in the town; In Tsuno town of Kochi, they are given hairbands with horns (because tsuno is sounds like “horns” in Japanese); In Kasukabe city, Saitama, the new adults are given toilet rolls printed with images to create awareness on election; while in Shibuya ward, Tokyo, they are given a power bank and a condom.
That’s a rather interesting choice but it’s somehow easy to comprehend why Shibuya chose to distribute that. Given the number of single mothers in Japan, I suppose that is one way to stop irresponsible men from knocking people up and then disappearing. But it might also cause those who had no plans to get lucky that night go around hunting for someone to use it with.
Well, I guess there’s only so much spreading of awareness can do. At the very least, we know that the adults of Shibuya will be aware of the existence of condoms =\