Authors:

Karen Monina Batino, Sophia University Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract:

The Japanese Coming of Age Day or Seijin no Hi is an annual celebration dedicated for the youth who just turned eighteen years old within the last twelve months. The ceremony originated from a longstanding rite of passage from China during the Tang Dynasty (Haga,1991). In 1948, Seijin no Hi became an official holiday in Japan. It marks the expectation for progress of the country bestowed upon the hands of the Japanese youth after the unprecedented bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The new young adult is trusted to assume responsible roles for society. By attending the ceremony, they accept such duties. Attendees wear Japanese clothing such as furisode for women and hakama for men. Although men have the option to wear hakama or the Western formal coat and tie, this study then assesses the presence of both hakama and coat and tie as a manifestation of the ‘contact zone’ experienced after the loss of Japan over the US military. Therefore, having the Coming of Age Day in Japan as a space that consists of both a traditional event and a post-war phenomenon that clashed; thereby generating a contemporary ceremony. This contact zone is a space where two cultures meet and interact in asymmetrical relations of power like between a master and the slave along with the aftermaths that manifest in the contemporary period (Pratt, 1991). The appearance of both garments was analyzed using Mary Louise Pratt’s Art of the Contact Zone, which delved on how wearing two different customary clothing in Seijin no Hi as transculturation indication.

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