The JICC is proud to present our fifth annual Nengajo New Year's Card contest! As 2015 is the year of the sheep, the nengajo design should include either a sheep and/or the kanji for sheep (未) that is found in the Zodiac animal calendar. This year, our nengajo contest will be split into youth division (0-17) and adult division (18+).
The winning designs will be sent out to the JICC’s mailing list as the official New Year’s greeting, and also appear in official Embassy newsletter, Japan Now. The winners will also receive a fukubukuro — a Japanese New Year's goodie bag full of fun surprises!
To learn more about the tradition of nengajo, click here.
For official rules and how to enter, click here.
Oshougatsu, or the New Year's holiday, is a very special time in Japan. Perhaps the most honored and celebrated of all Japanese holidays, preparations begin long in advance as people clean their homes from top to bottom (osouji), prepare traditional food to be eaten during the first three days of the new year (osechi ryouri), and write their New Year's greeting cards, or nengajo.
Much like the holiday greeting cards exchanged in the West, nengajo are an important part of Japan's New Year festivities. By sending nengajo to friends, family and colleagues, the people of Japan can share their wish for a peaceful, prosperous and happy new year, as well as express their gratitude for help and kindness received in the past year in the hopes of preserving their good relations in the year ahead.
Nengajo cards are distinctively designed with special New Year's motifs. Many feature the eto, or zodiac animal, of the upcoming year. Traditional themes such as kadomatsu (decorative arrangements of pine, bamboo and sometimes plum blossoms), kites, and the sun rising over Mount Fuji are also popular.