All About Japan

New Year's Cards Get a Moe Makeover!

Anime Manga New Year's

Sending out Christmas cards to close friends and distant relatives is one thing, but Japan takes it a step further with its New Year's cards, or nengajo. In Japan you'll feel obligated to send one to co-workers, bosses, anyone who regularly provides you a service or even anyone whom you regularly provide a service to!

In fact, you’ve got to 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 them by the hundreds. So, given their ubiquity, it’s no surprise that Japan Post (which prints and distributes loads of nengajo every year through both its 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.

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 will probably end up running you something near the cost of just buying a bunch of pre-made nengajo.

Related Stories:
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Japan Post continues the New Year’s stamp tradition with cute Year of the Monkey story
Happy New Year, manga fans: Artists share their one-of-a-kind New Year’s cards on Twitter

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