If you thought having to send a couple of Christmas cards to close friends and far-flung cousins during the holidays was annoying, wait til you get a load of the nengajo (New Year’s card) tradition here in Japan. Not only is one obligated to send nengajo to family and friends, but you’re also obligated to send them to co-workers, bosses, anyone who regularly provides you a service, anyone whom you regularly provide a service to, your landlord, your mother’s landlord, Crazy Uncle Jeb over at the asylum, the stray cats in your neighborhood, and your mortal enemy (just to let him know you’ve got your eyes on him).

In fact, you’ve gotta send these things to so many people, it’s not uncommon to drop by the Japan Post near you and see people purchasing stacks of hundreds of these things. And unless, like me, you avoid any and all human contact, you’ll probably also come home one winter day to find your mailbox stuffed to the brim with the things. So, given their ubiquity, it’s no surprise that Japan Post (who prints and distributes loads of nengajo every year through both their website and physical post office locations), occasionally tries to mix it up with some very nontraditional designs.

This year, bizarrely, the running theme seems to be… moe. As in those super-cute anime girls and dreamy, slightly effeminate anime guys who are all the rage in Japan.


Nengajo tend to depict the Japanese Zodiac animal of the year to come. With 2016 being the Year of the Monkey, most of Japan Post’s new moe-fied nengajo feature the animated characters hanging out with simian pals to ring in the new year.



Apparently, Japan Post was serious about getting the moe feel right, and hired a number of artists to handle the designs. Many of those artists shared the work they did on their individual Twitter handles, further stirring up interest in the nengajo designs.



And, perhaps best of all (or worst of all if you’re not the DIY sort), the moe nengajo designs are part of the Japan Post’s free “nengajo template” program, which invites users to download the designs free of charge. The downside, of course, is that printing and shipping is up to you, so you’ll need to run out to a store and shell out for some nice, sturdy paper, which, if we’re being honest, will probably end up running you something near the cost of just buying a bunch of pre-made nengajo.



Or, sure, you could also just print the designs onto some old graph paper from your closet and leave them in a stack at your office or, uh, just send them as an attachment in a mass E-mail. You know, real classy like.



And hey! Since they’re downloadable, you can get your hands on them via this link wherever you happen to live!

Source: My Game News Flash
Images: Japan Post