Japanese culture - Nengajyo
  • miisanmiisan
    Posts: 20

    Hello, all -

    Well, it's almost New Year.  This is probably the most celebrated event in the Japanese year.

    It is a long-standing custom in Japan to send out New Year's postcards ("Nengajyo" or "Nengajo").  This is one of the most important casual cards one can get or receive.

    The Japanese postal service prints gazillions of plain Nengajyo every year and sells them cheaply.  These postal cards are also printed with a lottery number perhaps allowing the recipient to receive a modest prize.  

    It makes more of an impact if you go to the trouble of making your own Nengajyo.  However, like all things in Japanese culture there are lots of rules and some pitfalls to doing this.  You must never send a card to someone who has suffered a family death, for example. To avoid embarrassment, those who are in a year of mourning may send out pre-emptive cards with a simple black border explaining why they are not sending or receiving Nengajyo that year.

    For us Westerners, the first hurdle is language.  Messages and addresses on Nengajyo are hand written in Kanji.  Ouch!   I've linked below an interesting explanation of this uniquely Japanese tradition for those who may find it interesting.

    Since we have imported a number of dogs from Japan, we have a two or three very important contacts in Japan to whom we send New Year's wishes.  Fortunately, I have found an artist in Japan who designs beautiful, limited Nengajyo.  He also addresses them for us and writes a brief personal note from us in Kanji.  This really impresses our Japanese friends as it is very rare to receive Nengajyo from the US.

    Here is a photo of our Nengajyo for this year.  One of the traditions is that the card features (often in abstract ways) the animal from the Chinese Zodiac for the new year.  This year is the year of the rat.  I'm thinking of attempting to create my own card for next year (year of the ox).  I can design one, but I'd have to bribe a Japanese friend Sealed and translator to write them and she likely has many of her own with which to deal. 

    All about Nengajyo


  • Very interesting.  Thanks for the info and the article is intriguing.  Have you had the pleasure to go to Japan yet?  If not would you ever plan on going?  My husband who is a pilot and I had talked about moving there for a few years.  I would love to at least visit and steal a whole bunch of dogs. Wink

    On a side note...any news on my puppy???  It is still all we talk about.  I have a HUGE list of names and we make plans and include him in all of them.  

    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12224
    I really like the design of your Nengajyo - it's very nice. I like the texture as well. The article was interesting too. Thanx!
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3386
    Very interesting!  I think they offer classes on writing in Kanji at the Japanese Gardens near where I live... something to keep in mind if I ever make Japanese friends!  That would impress them.  
    Dogs: Rakka (shikoku), Sosuke (kai), Effie (bc/kelpie)
    Cats: Hester, Batgirl, Stephanie, Harley
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00
  • My brother in law is from Japan, I will have to remember to ask him about it.
    Fuzzy Gang Signature
    Post edited by Unknown User at -0001-11-30 00:00:00

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