This was no pre-Christmas cup; just a wonderful way to show we’re all connected.

On November 1, Starbucks released a teaser to their annual “Red Holiday Cups” that was neither red nor holiday-y enough for some of the coffee chain’s diehard fans. Instead, it was a pine green cup with dozens of people drawn together in one continuous line. Immediately, Starbucks was met with protest online for not featuring winter nor Christmas on their cup, a complaint that has been lodged with the company in years past. Turns out, they’ve never featured Christmas on their Red Holiday Cups and the new green version had little to do with the red one. So what was the story behind this new design?

Turns out the talented individual is Shogo Ota, a Japanese artist who has been living in the U.S. since moving there for college almost 14 years ago. It couldn’t have been easy deciding to go to school in the States, especially after failing to be accepted to numerous Japanese art colleges and not being able to speak a word of English. But Ota wanted to fulfill his mother’s dreams, and was able to attend college in Idaho to continue his art.


His hard work gained him a canvas on one of the most popular coffee chains in the world. There are plenty of people who are drawn on the cup, but some of the faces you’ll find on there include his family and the multitude of people he’s met in Idaho and Seattle, where he’s now based. As Ota says, “People should feel everybody is equal and happy together; that sounds peaceful to me.” This seems like a great message as we come to the end of this year, and a perfect goal to continue to aim for in 2017.


Shogo Ota not only has a life story to inspire the next generation of English learners in Japan, but also a message to all of us to continue to work hard. If you liked the Green Cup, be sure to check out Ota’s website, Tireman Studio, where he shares his other product designs.

Source: Starbucks via YOMYOMF
Images: YouTube/Starbucks Coffee