Japanese Nengajo 年賀状 New Year Tradition
All you need is a beautiful postcard, a pen and a stamp to make people smile this New Year.
While in Japan there isn’t a tradition of sending Christmas cards, they do send Nengajo 年賀状 at New Year to show appreciation to those who have helped you in the previous year. This can be a simple thank you to a loved one, or a special note to someone in your life in 2018 who has helped you through a hard time.
The Japanese custom of sending a New Year’s greeting dates back to the Heian era (794-1185), when the aristocratic families in Japan started sending letters to loved ones that they wouldn’t see over the New Year celebrations. When postcards were introduced into Japan in 1871, Nengajo writing look off, with the masses now able to send a cheap, small and uplifting note to people that have helped them in the past year. This tradition still lives on today, with some people now sending digital notes instead, at Japan Stationery we obviously still love the traditional way with pen and postcard to show you really care!
The most common kind of postcard to send someone is of the upcoming zodiac animal of the next year, 2019 in Japan is the Year of The Wild Boar. We have teamed up with Kata Kata to sell the below wild boar postcard that is a digitally printed version of their original Katazome stencil print. You can choose your own postcard design or even better, pick one of our plain cards to create your own special design this New Year!
There are some traditional rules that you must follow if you are sending a Nengajo and especially if it is to a Japanese person.
1. Don’t send cards to people who are in mourning over the last year, they want to remember their loved ones at this time of the year, rather than celebrating with a Nengajo.
2. Make sure your cards arrive on time too, ideally on the 1st January, but no later than the 7th January. This also gives you time to write a reply if you receive a card off someone you forgot to send one too…so set aside a little time to send out your Nengajo on the 1st or 2nd January.
3. Custom also dictates that you should put the date on the top of the card (2019), and a Happy New Year message, if it isn’t already printed on the design. The rest of the message is up to you.
4. If you really want to impress your Japanese friends or family, why not use one of the below Happy New Year messages written in Japanese characters!
明けましておめでとうございます (Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu), 新年おめでとうございます (Shinnen omedeto gozaimasu) or 謹賀新年 (Kinga Shinnen),all of which basically mean Happy New Year!
So why not spread the love this New Year to those who have made a difference in your life and thank them for their help & support or simply friendship through 2018.
See our card range here and if you don't receive a Nengajo from Japan Stationery this year, Happy New Year! (謹賀新年!) and Thank You for helping support our business in 2018.
Send a Gift not just a piece of paper!