1.23 mil. youths mark Coming-of-Age Day across Japan

CULTURE

A total of 1.23 million 20-year-olds marked Japan's Coming-of-Age Day on Monday, with some spending their first day as adults climbing up the country's tallest skyscraper and others enjoying Tokyo Disneyland.

The number of people reaching adulthood on Monday was up 20,000 on the previous year, a change on recent figures which had seen the number trending downwards due to Japan's low birthrate.

The number of new adults totaled 1.21 million in both 2016 and 2014, the lowest number since the government began collecting data in 1968.

In Osaka, approximately 100 men and women dressed in suits and kimono climbed to the top floor of the 60-story Abeno Harukas building, each with their hopes and dreams emblazoned on sashes hanging across their chests.

The fastest climber took around 40 minutes to walk up the 1,637 steps of the 300-meter skyscraper and arrived to fanfare in the building's observatory in what has become an annual event since it was first held in 2014.

"It was tougher than I thought, but I made it," 20-year-old Yu Iwasaki said while bedecked in her green kimono. "I'm confident that I will fulfill my dream to become a nurse."

At Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, Mickey Mouse and other popular Disney characters congratulated new adults by giving a performance in an event that has been held every year since 2002.

"I'd like you to unite and create a regional community," Urayasu Mayor Hideki Matsuzaki said at a ceremony.

"I could not work through baseball and study without my parents," said 20-year-old Yusuke Wakushima in a speech at the ceremony. "I'd like to pay them back and show my appreciation little-by-little."

==Kyodo

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