Coming of Age Day 2007

Last month, I promised to get some more pictures of Asami (K's niece if you missed previous posts about her) on Coming of Age Day and hoped to get a smile out of her. As it happened, we missed Asami on Coming of Age Day, but I can share a few of the ones the professional photographer took as well as ones her mother took on the day. Happily, she did smile. So without further ado, here are the pics of Asami and friends.

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The kimono was purchased through Asami's Grandmother's cousin who did her hair and is shown here dressing Asami. Good view of the "obi" sash tied in the back.

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Old and New: Girls may wear traditional kimono, but often have modern hair styles (and colors) and of course wouldn't be without a state-of-the-art cell phone.

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Why is the "V" sign seen so often in Japanese photos? It is said to have become a popular pose after the Winter Olympics of 1972, which were held in Sapporo in northern Japan. American figure skater, Janet Lynn fell during her free style performance, but never let down her smile. She ended up with the Bronze medal, but Japanese viewers admired her attitude. Later, she was frequently seen on TV and print media flashing the peace sign (this was during the Vietnam war) and it caught on in popular photography here.

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While this blog is in large part written with those friends who comment in mind, one of its most important functions is to keep distant family and friends (who generally don't comment) posted on what's happening in our lives. So if you are in the former group, please forgive me as I post a few more.

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Anonymous said...

OMG!!! She is STUNNINGLY gorgeous. And thank you for telling us why the peace sign is so popular there.
I do not know your age, but I do know one sign I remember vividly, as if I saw it yesterday. The Black Olympic winners, heads bowed, one arm raised in the Black Power symbol. It was raw & powerful.
BTW, I am going to watch that vid you suggested. I haven't been around much lately as I have pneumonia, but am improving now.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

What absolutely beautiful photographs. Thanks for sharing them and the story with us.

Pandabonium said...

Thank you "Old Broad". I did not see any of those games (1968 - I had just started college) - but remember seeing pictures of them giving the Black Power salute and the convtroversy that ensued with them being kicked off the team. Same year MLK and RFK were assassinated.

Pneumonia? Yipes. Take care.

Wendy - never for lack of a subject around here, except when someone doesn't show up :)

Anonymous said...

I'm in love ... ;)

ladybug said...

Very nice photos, sounds like it's a little bit like the Sweet 16/Quinceanra celebrations here. We've also been to several Bat Mitzvahs (13 years old or so), and have enjoyed them thoroughly!

Although I have to say no one I knew personally ever had a "Sweet 16" party, it was only for rich folks...

Great photos, I actually like the contrast of the modern hairdos w/the old-fashioned native dress, it's coo'!

I've already told our beaniac that her "sweet 16" will be celebrated in a bowling alley...which is in a step up from mine...which was celebrated w/my immediate family only while on a camping trip to Mt. Rainier.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I'm with everyone. Those pics are quite beautiful, especially the studio shots. Very lovely. Those are something to keep and treasure.

(No comments about the hair color or cell phone, I promise!)

(Oops...did that qualify as a comment? Sorry!)

Pandabonium said...

FH2O - that's sweet. Ah, to be young again...

Ladybug - 20 is the age of adulthood in Japan - voting, drinking, and hopefully starting to take on responsibilities (har har). Coming of Age Day celebrations used to just be for the elite in Japan.

I remember it used to be 21 in the US, then dropped to 18.

I am happy to see the kimono tradition kept alive (though the number of people in Japan who actually make the cloth is dwindling as is happening with most arts). I'll give them some slack on the hair.

Bowling alley would be fun place. Camping trip to Mt. Rainier sounds great too - but celebrating with friends is always best, especially at that age.

'like your ladybug graphic - is that new?

Moody - good boy. I actually prefer natural hair color too and I think you know what I think about cell phones, but I'll bite my tongue as well. Uh-oh, did I just do it too?

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! Vibrant outdoor shots, elegant studio production. And the pretty faces...

The peace sign photo trend is mind blowing though. And now I know how it caught on in Japan. Why it stayed on is beyond me. Perhaps it's how the new generation keep the 'tradition' alive, kimono and all.

Pandabonium said...

Hey Agus - I think the professional photographer really earned his fee.

As for the peace sign - it may look silly at times, but I can think of much worse possibilities!

PinkPanther said...

Asami, you are SO BEAUTIFUL & LOVELY.

Panda recommend her to take part in the Ms. Japan in the future. ;-)

For the "V" sign, I thought it was for kids only when I saw some student photos in Moody's blog. Um..um..., now I understood it.

It seems have to spend quiet a bit long hour to dress that traditional kimono. Did the lady take a long time to help her for dressing it?

Pandabonium said...

PP - Thanks. My oldest daughter modelled a kimono in a fashion show once. It takes about an hour to get dressed. There are several layers and each one has to tied a certain way. Add having the hair done and it might take two hours total.

That may seem like a lot, and for today's people who are always in a hurry, it is. But in times past, people had the time for such things so it wasn't considered to be such a problem.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of repeating what the others have already said, K.'s niece looks amazing in that kimono. And the pictures are great too.

Shin-seijin omedetou.

Pandabonium said...

Thanks, Loloma.

QUASAR9 said...

Japanese Tradition and custom is among the most complex or sophisticate. I really only speaks from glimpses of "The Last Samurai" - but there is something wholly or exclusively Japanese to Japanese art, painting, culture, custom & tradition.

Beautiful photos!

Pandabonium said...

Quasar9 - K and I like "The Last Samurai". I've been fascinated with Japan since childhood when an uncle, an air force colonel stationed here at the time (the 50's), sent me a Happi coat, and other friends of the family sent me Japanese postage stamps. I have always been amazed at how Japan integrates the arts so deeply into everything they do. My interest only deepened by living in Hawaii and becoming a member of a Japanese Buddhist sect.

I am really pleased when I see kids like Asami carry on a tradition like this.

Anonymous said...

Just stopping by to look at the gorgeous pics again. First time I've had Internet access for days during our HORRID ICE STORM FROM HELL.
Sooooo good to be back online.