Nov 12, 2009

Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3 / seven-five-three).

Shichi-Go-San is a traditional rite of passage and festival in Japan.
Three and seven years-old girls and three and five years-old boys visit a shrine on Nov. 15th to drive out evil spirits and wish for a long healthy life.
Three, five and seven are consistent with Japanese numerology, which dictates that odd numbers are lucky.
It is not a national holiday, and is generally held on the nearest weekend by each family.

Shichi-Go-San is said to have originated in the ancient custom.
When the age with high fatality rate of babies and children, they were thought as god's children.
Parents think they were entrusted with their child from god, and after their child become 7 years old child was accepted as human officially.
(This "god" means a guardian deity living in each locality.)

After 8th century, some rite of passages arose from this thought among noble people.

2-3 years-old boys and girls.
Afterward, 3 years-old boys and girls.
Beginning to let children's hair grow.
(Until that, they are shaven heads.)

3-7 years-old boys and girls.
Afterward, 5 years-old boys.
Wearing Hakama for the first time.

5-9 years-old boys and girls.
Afterward, 7 years-old girls.
Replacing a simple cords with a traditional obi.

Originally, the date and ages of these rituals were not limited.
But in the Edo period [1603-1867], Hakamagi of 3rd Tokugawa shogun's son Tokumatsu or 5th shogun's son Tokumatsu was held at an auspicious day Nov. 15th.
(3rd shogun's son Tokumatsu is 5th shogun's childhood name.)
After that, the date of Shichi-Go-San was established at Nov. 15th.

And in the middle or later part of the Edo period, kimono shops had directed their attention to these rituals.
At these rituals, people had a new kimono made.
Kimono shops plotted to lump these opportunities together.
They named these rituals "Shichi-Go-San" and advertised as "buy new kimono and visit shrines!".
This was the beginning of present-day Shichi-Go-San.

Now, a lot of children wear kimono for Shichi-Go-San.
It's not too much to say that Shichi-Go-San is the only chance to wear kimono of them.

3 years-old girls.
Kimono + Hifu (a sleeveless coat like a vest)

3 years-old boys.
Mon-tsuki + Heko-Obi + sleeveless Haori
or same as 5 years-old boys.

5 years-old boys.
Mon-tsuki + Haori + Hakama

7 years-old girls.
Kimono + kid's Maru-Obi + Obiage + Obijime + Shigoki + Hakoseko
(Recently, Tsuke-Obi is used often.)

At from middle of Oct. to middle of Nov., we can see a lot of children in kimono at shrines.
They are in high spirits with beautiful costume or grumbling at tight costume.
It's very heartwarming scene!

...It's me on Shichi-Go-San as 3 years old!
How do I look? :)


  1. Awww! Your shichigosan photo is very cute! :)

  2. shigatsuhana, Thanks!
    I think this photo is my best-shot of my life forever, haha. :)