Police have received some 380 complaints after a rental kimono firm halted its operations and its managers disappeared just before the coming-of-age ceremonies Monday, leaving many young women without formal attire for the event.
People who could not receive reserved kimono from the company called Harenohi, based in Yokohama near Tokyo, paid tens of millions of yen to the rental service firm, the police said. Most of them paid around 300,000 yen ($2,600) each.
The police have also been consulted by those who reserved kimono at Harenohi for school graduation and entrance ceremonies in the spring.
The city government of Yokohama said its officials visited Harenohi's headquarters and its shop Tuesday to investigate, but there were no employees.
Hundreds of women had reserved kimonos at Harenohi and were getting ready to be dressed for the big day when many of the company's employees failed to show up and its shops remained closed and out of contact.
Women in Japan wear lavish "furisode" kimono, often costing several hundred thousand of yen if purchased, to mark the day when municipalities hold the celebration for new 20-year-olds around Coming-of-Age Day, designated as the second Monday in January.
Harenohi, established in October 2008, runs shops in the port city in Kanagawa Prefecture as well as Tokyo's Hachioji, Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, and the city of Fukuoka.
According to a credit research company Tokyo Shoko Research, Harenohi had excess liabilities totaling 320 million yen as of September 2016.
An official of a company which has been leasing business equipment to Harenohi quoted the kimono firm's senior official as saying in August last year that finances were tight due to declining demand.
The official also said Harenohi started delaying payments from the spring of last year and had not paid dues for November and December.
"As we can't get in touch with the president, we will need to take legal action," the official said.
A note posted at the shop in Fukuoka said, "We have done everything we could but we can no longer operate."