The JICC is pleased to announce our 12th annual Nengajo New Year's Card Contest! 2023 will be the Year of the Rabbit (卯年), so nengajo designs must include a Rabbit, the kanji for Rabbit (卯) found on the Zodiac animal calendar or eto, as well as the year 2023 (or Reiwa 5/令和五年 in the Japanese calendar). This year's contest will be divided into junior (0-11), youth (12-17) and adult (18+) divisions. There will be one grand prize winner and one runner-up from each category. In addition, honorable mentions will be chosen for the Most Creative and the Most Traditional designs. Designs will be judged by JICC and Embassy of Japan staff.

The three grand prize winning designs will be sent out to the JICC’s mailing list as the official New Year’s greeting. The three winners will also receive a fukubukuro — a customary Japanese grab-bag of goodies to celebrate the New Year. Runners-up and honorable mentions will be display on the JICC website, Facebook page, and Instagram account alongside the winners.

To learn more about the tradition of nengajo, click here.

For official rules and how to enter, click here.


Oshogatsu, or Japanese New Year, is a very special time in Japan. One of the most important and most celebrated Japanese holidays, preparations begin long in advance as people clean their homes from top to bottom (oosoji), prepare traditional food to be eaten during the first three days of the new year (osechi ryori), and write their New Year's greeting cards, or nengajo.

Similar to 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, eggplant, and the sun rising over Mount Fuji are also popular.

Read more about the history and tradition of nengajo here.


Deadline: Designs must be received electronically via e-mail or submitted to the JICC's Facebook page or via the Instagram hashtag #2023JICCNengajo by 5:00PM Eastern Standard Time on Monday, December 19th, 2022.

Eligibility: The contest is open to the public.

Regulations: Designs must fit the traditional postcard size of 4x6 inches. Designs must also incorporate a Rabbit and the kanji for Rabbit that is used in the Zodiac animal calendar or eto (卯), as well as the year 2023 (or Reiwa 5/令和五年 in the Japanese calendar). Designs must be the contestant's original artwork, not taken directly from any manga, or anime, a website, or other image or artwork protected by copyright. Any designs suspected of plagiarism or copyright violations will be disqualified without notice.

Submissions: Submissions must be received in digital format. High resolution photographs and scans of non-digital artwork can be uploaded to the JICC's Facebook page, submitted via the JICC Instagram using the hashtag #2023JICCNengajo, or sent by e-mail to Only one (1) nengajo will be allowed per person. In the submission email, please include the following information in the caption:

  • Name
  • Age
  • City, State, and Country
  • If under the age of 13: Written Parental or Guardian Consent

Nengajo not submitted according to these guidelines may result in disqualification without notice. Personal information of minors will be restricted when published and destroyed within a month of publication. Parental or guardian consent is required for children under the age of 13. Please see our privacy policy, linked at the bottom of this page, for more information.

※Note: You will receive a message confirming that we have received your nengajo submission. If you do not receive a message within 72 hours, or by the deadline, please contact us ASAP. We are not responsible for entries that are lost, misdirected, or transmitted late or incorrectly.

Awards: First prize winners in the junior (0-11), youth (12-17) and adult (18+) divisions will receive a JICC fukubukuro — a customary Japanese grab-bag of goodies to celebrate the New Year. (Please note that applicants residing outside of the US are not eligible to receive a prize, but are still encouraged to participate and may be featured on our social media and online gallery.)

Rights: As between the JICC, Embassy of Japan and the Entrant, the Entrant retains ownership of all intellectual and industrial property rights (including moral rights) in and to their Nengajo submission. As a condition of entry, Entrant grants the JICC a worldwide, transferable, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, publish, distribute, publicly perform, and publicly display the Nengajo for any purpose, including display on the JICC website and social media pages, with attribution to Entrant.

Questions & Comments: For questions, comments, and rule clarifications, please email the JICC at