2020 was my fourth year shooting Shichi-go-san sessions with seven, five and three year-old children and their families. Japanese, international or bi-cultural children present themselves in kimonos to their local priests at a Japanese shrine. There, families watch as the priest blesses each child as they progress to the next stage of a long and healthy life.

What struck me about 2020 was how diligent many of the children were about keeping themselves safe. While many kimonos are accessorized with purses, fans, and hair accessories, there was a new accessory with almost every family I encountered: masks.

Shichigosan for 2021 is just under a year away. I wonder if children will celebrate their coming of age with a matching mask next year.

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