On 'Seijin no Hi' (Coming of Age Day) the young people of Japan who turned twenty the previous year come together to celebrate. The new adults of each region are all invited to a ceremony called 'Seijin Shiki' to mark the milestone. The tradition started after World War 2 as part of an effort to give young people hope for the future.

The ceremony attendees are given talks at their local city hall about their new responsibilities as adults in society. Although the organisers may want to keep the event prim and proper, in recent years the event has become akin to a school reunion. Some new adults take it as a chance to get together with old friends, get dressed up to the nines and proceed to get absolutely wasted.

No area of Japan has risen to the occasion as much as Okinawa. The chaotic coming of age parties that occur in Japan’s island paradise have become infamous throughout the nation, attracting pearl-clutching media attention.

It's important to look your best for the ceremony and before becoming upstanding adult members of society, the 20-year-olds want to show one last burst of individuality. Though many will opt for a Western-style suit, for some young Okinawan men the go-to look is a ‘hakama’, a traditional piece of samurai clothing still used today in martial arts.

The crowning glory is of course, an outrageous hairstyle. A popular option is the ‘pompadour’, a hairstyle once associated with unsavoury members of Japanese society such as gangs and teenage biker thugs. Other choices include braids and shaved designs, dyed in eye-popping colours.

Some girls pile their hair on top of their head in classic hostess style. Fittingly for tropical Okinawa, many will complete the look with sunglasses.

You can make sure people know that your school goes harder than any other school by renting some cars, decking them out in flashy decorations and doing a 'parade' to the ceremony. Some of the rowdier new adults try to cram as many friends as possible into one car and hang out, yelling into megaphones. They may also try their hand at drifting and various other illegal manoeuvres hoping to cause a ruckus. Naturally, many of these parade cars are confiscated by police.

After the ceremony and repping their school all day many young people put their adult status to use and drink as much as is humanly possible. The place to be at night is Kokusai Dori (International Street), a tourist hot spot of prefectural capital Naha.

In the quest to party hard, incidents occur yearly, of scuffles with the police, drunken hooliganism and general annoyances to the public, but of course these troublemakers are in the minority.

To be fair it's not only the youth of Okinawa that are misbehaving, each prefecture seems to have their fair share of incidents. In addition to this some of Okinawa's young people have started to help with cleaning up the aftermath. That being said, the young adults in Okinawa seem to make it their personal mission each year to have the wildest party around, and it’s safe to say they’re succeeding.

This Vice documentary on YouTube gives more information on the crazy side of Okinawa's Coming of Age Day:

By - grape Japan editorial staff.