Those coming of age pledge to contribute to society at coming-of-age ceremonies in regions around Hokkaido

Young women, celebrating coming of age, wearing brightly colored kimonos and masks are happy to be reunited. Kiyota ward Gymnasium, Kiyota-ku, Sapporo.

On January 9, coming-of-age ceremonies were held in various parts of Hokkaido in anticipation of ‘Coming-of-Age Day’ on January 10. In the city of Sapporo, where the ceremony was held for the first time in two years due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the young men and women attended ceremonies in brightly colored kimonos, brand-new suits and masks, amid concerns about the increase in the number of infections.
 
Last year, ceremonies in the city were canceled for the first time since records began in 1955. This year, the number of those coming of age in Sapporo is 9,005 males and 8,892 females. Ceremonies were held in each ward of the city, and at some venues, participants were divided into two groups and the times of the ceremony staggered as part of measures to prevent infections.
 
In Kiyota-ku, where a total of 857 men and women attended the ceremony, participants entered the venue after sterilizing their hands and having their temperature checked at the entrance. “It’s hard to tell who is who because of the masks,” said one participant as they took photos and expressed their joy at meeting again for the first time in quite a while.

 Osanai Akira, 20, and Nakajima Saya, 20, represented the participants and made the pledge to “endeavor to actively participate in and contribute to society as responsible people”. The ceremony lasted approximately 20 minutes, half the time of previous years, as there were no musical performances this year.

 The first case of the new Omicron strain of the virus was confirmed in the city on January 8. A female programmer, 20, who participated in the event said, “I was worried that the ceremony would be cancelled, but I’m glad I could attend because I haven’t been able to see anyone for the past two years.

Location

Kiyota ward Gymnasium, Kiyota-ku, Sapporo

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