New Year’s cards

KFC Japanese New Year’s cards give you free fried chicken to start 2020 off right!

KFC gets into Japan’s nengajo tradition in a finger-licking way.

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Mail your cute Sanrio-style self to all your friends and family with Chanrio New Year’s cards!

Earlier this year, we saw that Chanrio Maker is the easiest way to reimagine yourself as a Sanrio character. Now that the end of the year is approaching, it turns out you can use your own Chanrio to make the cutest New Year’s cards ever!

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Japan Post gets moe fever with 2016 anime-fied New Year’s postcards

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 yubin-nenga.jp 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.

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Japan Post continues the New Year’s stamp tradition with cute Year of the Monkey story

Last winter, while people in Japan were getting ready to send their nengajo (New Year greeting cards) to family and friends, Japan Post did something amazing. Instead of releasing just any ol’ stamp for the Year of the Sheep in 2015, they made what was obviously a continuation of the stamp from 12 years prior. You see, in 2003, there was a darling sheep knitting a scarf on one of their special stamps, and in 2015 that same sheep was proudly wearing the finished product.

The story was a nice, feel-good moment for many, and people starting wondering whether this was a one-time occurrence or if Japan Post was going to continue this “stamp story” two years in a row. We are happy to say that they appear to be starting a tradition, as the Year of the Monkey is also getting an adorable back-story!

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Japan’s amazing Excel artist wishes everyone a happy new year using the spreadsheet program

All through high school and for the first part of college, I didn’t use Microsoft Word, or any dedicated word processing software, for that matter, to write my reports. Instead, I did everything using Lotus 1-2-3, a spreadsheet program.

While that might sound incredibly inconvenient, it actually wasn’t too bad. Having a dad who’s an accountant and was well-versed in the program was a big help, but once I got the hang of it, I could produce written reports just about as easily as my Word-equipped classmates.

Still, my spreadsheet skills aren’t in the same league as Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi, who’s been making beautiful landscapes and portraits with Microsoft Excel for years, including a New Year’s card that’s just as cute as any made with paint and brush.

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Special 2015 New Year’s stamp shows adorable sheep completing a 12-year project

With November half over, it’s time to start worrying about the big holiday this season: New Year’s! While Christmas might be the big winter holiday in many countries, for those in Japan, the changing of the calendar is a far bigger event and everyone from school kids overworked salarymen gets a row of days off.

In addition to lazing about and eating way too much food, January first also means nearly mandatory New Year’s postcards in Japan. Next year is the year of the sheep (or goat, depending on who you ask), and the Japanese postal service has revealed their special postcard stamps featuring an adorable four-legged wool giver just for the occasion. However, eagle-eyed patrons with a good memory have noticed something special about the stamps…

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New Year’s greetings from 39 Japanese illustrators!

The New Year’s break has sadly ended for most people in Japan by now, but the traditional season itself doesn’t fade away as soon. After receiving nengajo (New Year’s postcards) from clients and vendors, many office workers’ first task when they get back to work after the holiday is to contact the senders to thank them for their kind greetings.

We’ve already seen the best civilian nengajo efforts of 2013, but here are some of the coolest New Year’s greetings from Japan’s most talented manga artists and illustrators!

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Japan’s coolest New Year 2014 greeting cards

New Year in Japan means food, visiting temples, food, getting money, food, and, of course, New Years postcards. Like the many people all over the world, Japanese folks make a habit of sending cards to nearly everyone they know to mark the start of another year. The average card often features a family photo or some traditional illustration connected to the new year.

That’s the average card–some people, though, take the opportunity to send cards with a bit more pizzazz using everything from illustrations of Attack on Titan characters to an actual pack of Pokémon cards. Check out some of the best nengajo (Japanese New Years cards) we’ve found below!

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Attention, all artists! Design your own New Year’s postcards on this awesome website

If you’ve ever been in Japan over the New Year’s holiday, you’re probably familiar with the Japanese custom of exchanging nengajo, or New Year’s postcards. People exchange nengajo with friends, coworkers, and others to whom they are indebted or with whom they wish to maintain a good rapport in the coming year. There is a deadline to mail nengajo, usually around December 25, so that they will be delivered to each house on New Year’s Day precisely. If you still haven’t gotten around to sending them out this year, then never fear, because this incredibly cool website lets you design your own nengajo!

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