For the first time, our dedicated reporter on Kitakyushu’s most pompadour-packed procession gets to dress just like one of the revelers in question.
Youth is such fleeting joy, isn’t it? While in my native UK you can be recognized as an adult as early as 18 or even 16 years old, in Japan the officially recognized time when you “come of age” is your 20th birthday. It’s such a celebrated life event that on the second Monday of January, everyone who turned 20 in the past year turns up at their local or prefectural city office to commemorate it with each other.
In many big cities you might notice this auspicious occasion by the sharply dressed young men and women, who wear suits or traditional dress (gorgeous, long-sleeved furisode kimono for the girls; traditional wide-legged hakama for the boys). The city of Kitakyushu in Fukuoka, however, is renowned for taking it up a notch. Several notches. An excess of notches, even.
▼ Newly matured Yankee adults prowl the streets of Kitakyushu
Yes, the youth of Kitakyushu greet their adulthood with gilded rickshaws, Presley-style pomps and color-coordinated outfits. Our dedicated reporter Masanuki Sunakoma has attended the event multiple times now to cover it for SoraNews24, and found himself wondering:
Just where the heck do those amazing outfits come from?
The answer is just one store: a historic costume shop just a seven to eight minute walk from the Kitakyushu Media Dome station. Every year thousands of youths give the store their patronage and rent out traditional outfits cut from flashy, gaudy cloth; but the tradition started in 2003, with just two youngsters making a very unusual request.
▼ The fabled store itself, Miyabi
▼ Inside the store are magazines, filled with past designs
The pair requested to be clad in gold and silver from head to toe, and the shop’s manager