Seijin vs Otona: Japanese Words for Adults

Today, January 13, is a Japanese national holiday called “Seijin no Hi (成人の日: Coming of Age Day)”,

when the coming of age ceremony called “Seijin Shiki (成人式)” takes place around the country.

In Japan, people become adults at the age of 20, and accordingly, they are regarded as “Otona (大人)”.

Meaning: Seijin vs. Otona


“Seijin (成人)” and “Otona (大人)” are Japanese words for adult(s), as seen above.

But these are slightly different in meaning, as shown below.

Seijin (成人)

Seijin is the word for legal adult(s).

Currently, in Japan, people come of age at 20. But it will be lowered to 18 from April 2022.

Otona (大人)

In contrast, Otona refers to people whose thinking and attitude have matured.

Hence, even children under the age of 20 can be regarded as Otona.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: