For full context: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10011281951000/k10011281951000.html

The sentence in question: 8日は、20歳になって新しく成人した人をお祝いする成人の日でした。

My attempt at translation: "About the 8th, it was the day of adults..." I can't really translate any further. My translation makes so little sense then it gives me a headache.

The particle を requires a direct object, and this object would have to be お祝いする。If I regarded お祝いする as an attribute of its own to 成人, it couldn't be interpreted as an object in context of the 20歳になって新しく成人した人を clause anymore. However, if I don't regard it as an attribute of 成人, then I could theoretically interprete it as the noun お祝い representing the direct object in the 20歳になって新しく成人した人を phrase. Then する would be the predicative of the 20歳になって新しく成人した人をお祝い phrase, which seems possible in theory, but then again feels wrong because I've never before analysed a する verb that way. Rather I regarded them as one syntactical unit amounting to a predicative in the respective clause. Anyway, even in this latter case I just described, the translation I could come up with doesnt make much sense anyway and also probably doesn't even correctly reflect the syntax I assumed: "About the 8th, it was the day of adults who gift newly grown up adults becoming 20."

1 Answer 1



In it simplest form this sentence is

The 8th (of January) was 'Coming of Age' day.

The rest of the sentence is a relative clause modifying 成人の日. What kind of day is it?

A coming of age day where we celebrate people.

What kind of people do we celebrate? This is another relative clause modifying 人:

People who became 20 years old and newly achieved adulthood.


The 8th was Coming of Age Day where we celebrate people who have become 20 years old and have newly reached adulthood.

  • 1
    Note to readers: "Adulthood" in this context is a specific cultural / legal concept -- 20 is the legal age of majority in Japan, when people are allowed to do things like vote and get a driver's license. Jan 9, 2018 at 22:08
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi Driver's license age for a regular car is 18. 20 is the legal age for you can apply mid-size vehicles (small semis, microbuses).
    – Jimmy
    Jan 9, 2018 at 23:20
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    In Japan, minors of 18 years old are allowed to vote and get a driver's license but are not allowed to drink alcohol.
    – canine
    Jan 9, 2018 at 23:23
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    @immateur This is analogous to, say, the US's age of adulthood, where at 18 you're considered a legal adult capable of obtaining a driver's license (without a learner's permit), are able to vote, etc. but at 21 you get an additional set of privileges like purchase alcohol, marijuana (in some states), or tobacco, and gamble (in some regions)
    – psosuna
    Jan 9, 2018 at 23:48
  • @Jimmy and immateur, thank you for the additional detail. Jan 10, 2018 at 19:45

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