Thrill ride for new adults

Japanese women wearing kimonos ride a roller coaster during their Coming of Age Day celebration ceremony at an amusement park in Tokyo yesterday.

According to a government announcement, more than 1.2 million men and women who were born in 1995 marked their coming of age this year, a decrease of approximately 50,000 from last year.

The second Monday of January is Coming of Age Day, a national holiday to encourage those who have newly entered adulthood to become self-reliant members of society. The holiday used to be on Jan 15, but in 2000 it was moved to the second Monday of the month.

Municipal governments host special coming-of-age ceremonies for 20-year-olds, as an "adult" in Japan is legally defined as one who is 20 or over.

They gain the right to vote on their 20th birthday, and they are also allowed to smoke and drink.

But along with these rights come new responsibilities as well, and so age 20 is a big turning point for the Japanese.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2016, with the headline 'Thrill ride for new adults'. Print Edition | Subscribe