Genpuku (celebrate ones coming of age) (元服)

Genpuku was a coming-of-age celebration for boys, a rite of passage held among Court nobles and samurai families since the Heian period. It was also called kakan or uikoburi (crowning a young man during the genpuku ceremony). Since the Edo period, this rite was lost.

In general, Genpuku was held in order to declare that a boy, who became 15 years old (age according to the traditional Japanese system), reached manhood, and in the rite, the boy changed into adult clothes in front of the shrine of his ujigami (a guardian god or spirit of a particular place in the Shinto religion), changed his hairstyle from the hairstyle for children called agemaki (mizura: trefoil knots) to the hairstyle for adults called kanmurisita no motodori (the hair is bundled up on the top of the head and made to stand up to accomodate a crown), and was crowned by eboshioya (a person who put on an eboshi (formal headwear for court nobles) during the genpuku ceremony); in Court nobles and the Taira families of samurai, the boy often had heavy makeup, hikimayu (painted eyebrows) and ohaguro (black painted teeth), while in the Minamoto families of samurai, the boy mostly did not have any makeup.)
The childhood name fell into disuse, and the eboshi name (the genpuku name, imina or personal name) was newly given. Since the Muromachi period, this rite became widespread among ordinary people. In ordinary people, there was a rite called Fundoshi-iwai when a boy wore Fundoshi (loincloth) for the first time under heko-oya (acting parents asked for Fundoshi iwai), and was taught about sex.

The coming-of-age celebration for noble girls was called 'Mogi.'

Since the Edo period, women also described their celebration as Genpuku, and they experienced it simultaneously with marriage, and even if they were single, they held the ceremony at around the age 18 to 20. When a woman celebrated Genpuku, she wore modest kimono, changed her hairstyle to marumage (rounded hair style of a married woman), ryowa (two knots are made and fixed with a stick called "kogai" with the remaining hair rolled up), or sakko fashion (Maiko's hairstyle), and wore heavier makeup and ohaguro was put on by kaneoya (godmother of kanetsuke), and had hikimayu. In the case where the woman had ohaguro, but did not have hikimayu, it was called hangempuku (attaining womanhood informally). The custom of hangempuku still remains even now in a part of Hanamachi (geisha districts in Kyoto), for example among Maiko (an apprentice geisha) in Gion, Tayu (a high ranking courtesan) in Shimabara, and so on.

[Original Japanese]