Anime studio shares master’s latest illustration as part of its online nengajo.

A lot of Japan’s seasonal traditions are an eclectic mix of different cultural influences, and one example comes right at the start of the year. In Japan, the celebrations for Oshogatsu (as New Year’s is called in Japanese) take place on January 1, with observances of the Lunar New Year really only being local events in towns with large Chinese heritage enclaves, like Yokohama or Nagasaki.

However, Japan observes the cycle of the Chinese/animal zodiac, so as of January 1, in the opinion of Japan, we’re now in the Year of the Tiger. Though contemporary Japan doesn’t put much stock in the fortune-telling/personality indicator beliefs associated with the Chinese zodiac signs in some other countries, Japanese people are extremely enthusiastic about including the year’s representative animal in their nengajo, or New Year’s cards, which are delivered on January 1. While you could buy pre-printed cards with tiger illustrations for 2022, one 80-year-old Tokyoite decided to draw his own.

Oh, and that Tokyoite was Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki.

The photos of Miyazaki (who turned 81 on January 5), shared through the official Studio Ghibli Twitter account, show the famed anime director sitting in his personal atelier with long-time producer Toshio Suzuki, as he sketches his New Year’s tiger. In keeping with Miyazaki’s well-known love of hand-drawn artwork, he’s using a pen and, instead of a sketchpad, a sheet of animation paper, as evidenced by the set of circular and oblong holes along the top edge which would be used to keep it in place on an animator’s light table.

Miyazaki may be taking his sweet time with his upcoming anime film How Do You Live?, but he was speedy and punctual with his New Year’s card, as Ghibli shared it as part of their New Year’s message to fan’s precisely at midnight on January 1.

▼ “Happy New Year’s, and we hope you’ll continue to look favorably upon us in the year to come.”

It makes us wonder if Miyazaki also includes hand-drawn illustrations on his personal New Year’s cards that he sends to friends and family. Unfortunately, we’re not on the director’s nengajo list, so we may never know, but at least we’ve got the spoils of our Studio Ghibli lucky bag to give us warm and fuzzy feelings to start off 2022 with.

Source: Twitter/@JP_GHIBLI via Kinisoku
Top image © SoraNews24
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