Seijinsiki
成人式


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History

The festival goes back to the seventh century when it was known as genpuku (first clothing) for boys and mogi for girls. Boys were between thirteen and sixteen, and girls between twelve and sixteen. This ceremony was first for noble or samurai descents but later spread to lower classes as well.

Samurai boys were taken to the shrines of their patron god. They usually changed their names and hair styles by shaving the forelocks, got an adult robe with rounded closed sleeves, received their first swords, separated from their mothers, and became able to take on the dominant role in male-male love relationships. Some were even given a territory to protect. No samurai was allowed to marry before genpuku. 

A young woman was similarly based around the presentation of adult clothing. She was able to get married at this age. She would wear the kimono of unmarried woman with flowing sleeves that hang almost to the ankles. Clothing and accessories were different, too. Unmarried women could wear a hair accessory in the form of a flower made of colourful fabrics. Married woman could wear a hair accessory made of metal, which swings and reflects the light beautifully. Married woman's kimono had a pair of short sleeves. A bride always wore a white furisode, and after the marriage, she cut the long sleeves down to short ones and also dyed it black. She would wear the black kimono for her family's wedding/funeral ceremonies or other special occasions.

During the Edo period young females used to dye their front teeth black. This ritual also became the symbol of married women. The old custom was followed by some married women even into the 1900s. Women also shaved their eyebrows in a high position on the forehead. Women of the lower classes practiced teeth-blackening, but only started it either on marriage or on becoming pregnant. Women also used a white facial powder and painted their lips red. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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