Will young people give up the kimono?
The Japan Times
A new law lowering the legal age of adulthood from 20 years old to 18 could have the unintended consequence of killing off the ailing kimono industry, said Tomohiro Osaki. The change was made to encourage Japanese young people to take their place in a graying society a bit faster. At 18, they can now get credit cards and marry without their parents’ consent—though they will still have to wait until their 20th birthday to legally drink, smoke, and gamble. But if kids become adults at 18, the coming-of-age ceremony—which cities typically hold in January—will occur when they are third-year high school students “who are also gearing up for college entrance exams only a few weeks away.” Shopkeepers fear that young women will be too busy to worry about choosing a kimono for the event. The traditional attire can cost thousands of dollars to rent, and some people no longer wear a kimono even for their wedding. The coming-of-age ceremony is “something of a final stronghold for our industry’s survival,” says Hidemitsu Miyamoto of the clothier Kimono Kuroudo Miyamoto. Lowering the age of adulthood could be “a huge blow.” Of course, many Japanese youth might choose to hold their ceremonies at age 20—so they can celebrate adulthood with that first legal cocktail.