Kodomo vs Otona: When Children Become Adults in Japan

As you may know, “Kodomo (子供)” is the Japanese word for child or children, while “Otona (大人)” is the word for adult or grown-ups. According to the definition of the law, now Kodomo in Japan legally becomes Otona at the age of 20.

But since in 2018 the Japanese government decided to lower the age of adulthood to 18, from the year 2022, people living in Japan legally become adults or come of age at eighteen.

When Kodomo exactly becomes Otona

Seijin-Shiki Ceremony

As of today, people over the age of twenty are regarded as adults or Otona or Seijin in Japan. “Seijin (成人)” is the word for legal adults, but some legal adults or Seijin may not have become Otona yet and may have still been Kodomo.

Kodomo exactly becomes Otona when their way of thinking and attitude has matured. So a 10-year-old kid isn’t a Seijin in Japan but can be called Otona if he or she is well-behaved.


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.

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