A coming-of-age ceremony was held at a restaurant in the town of Miharu on Jan. 2 for new adults from the village of Katsurao where all residents have been evacuated in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co., marking the first such celebration in Fukushima Prefecture this year.
It was the fourth straight year for Katsurao to organize a coming-of-age ceremony in Miharu, where the village office is temporarily located. Of 20 new adults registered, 18 attended the event, with all women dressed in the traditional costume of long-sleeved kimono known as “furisode.” Of the male participants, some wore “hakama” or skirt-like trousers while others were in business suits.
At the start of the ceremony, participants observed a moment of silence in tribute to victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Village head Masahide Matsumoto then handed an adult certificate to each. “We are going to greet the fourth anniversary of evacuation soon and our hopes (for recovery) are getting bigger bit by bit,” he told the audience. “Wherever you may live, please keep interested in village affairs and take action for the hometown whenever you feel any urge to act.”
On behalf of the new adults, Toshiya Matsumoto, a junior-college student in Takikawa on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido, said he would like to recognize the reality of having lost precious seniors in the disaster and being forced to continue living as evacuees, pledging to behave as an adult in a responsible manner.