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Nengajo: a Guide to Japanese New Year Cards

Japanese Calligraphy

Nengajo: Japanese New Year Cards

Nengajo are the New Year cards that Japanese people send to each other to celebrate the New Year. In Western countries, it may seem a bit old-fashioned, but in Japan, it is still a beloved tradition, and the Post Office often gets overwhelmed at the end and beginning of the year. Japanese people send nengajo to their loved ones, but also to their business partners. These New Year’s cards are used to show your gratitude to all the people who have supported you during the year that is ending.

We will be able to find nengajo in stores from November. There are many designs. But the most common ones represent the zodiac sign of the coming year. For the year 2021 therefore, the ox. Some cards have a number written on them. It is a national lottery number. The winner is announced in mid-January. A great way to start the year.

Design your own Nengajo

You can also, of course, create your own nengajo design. For example, why not recreate these beautiful Japanese kanji? You will find this handmade washi postcard in the Peko Peko New Year box, with a brush pen. Perfect to practice Japanese calligraphy.

Nengajo: Japanese New Year Cards
Hand written calligraphy (dream) by master on handmade washi paper postcard

This Japanese character is yume, it means dream! What better way to start the New Year than wish for our loved ones to fulfill their dreams?

When getting the box, you will also access a tutorial video on how to write this yume character.

The story behind the creation of this beautiful washi postcard

This beautiful item was created only for Peko Peko Box. It is the result of a collaboration of two friends. The first one, Kayo, is a master of calligraphy. She offers calligraphy workshops in English for foreign visitors. The workshops are held in her husband’s restaurant, recommended in the Michelin guide. Included in the package, after learning about the art of calligraphy, you can enjoy a delicious traditional Japanese lunch.

Kayo-san, holding her Nengajo
Kayo-san, calligraphy master

Kayo chose this character, yume, in the hope that all Peko Peko’s clients will have their dream come true in 2021. Her dream is that visitors will soon come back to Japan so that she can continue teaching calligraphy, her passion.

One by one, Kayo wrote the character on washi paper postcards. These were also handcrafted, by Miwako, from the Kami to Wa shop, located just across from Kayo’s restaurant.

Kami to wa
Miwako-san from Kami to wa, with handmade washi paper

Kami to Wa is a boutique specializing in washi paper. The shop is filled with gorgeous items, all made using Japanese paper: notebook, notepad, bags, lamps… Miwako also organizes a really fun Japanese experience. She offers to visitors the possibility to make their own washi postcard. It was after remembering how popular this activity was among foreigners that she suggested that we create these washi cards for our Peko Peko Box.

We thank them for their work which made the creation of this gorgeous item possible!

Japanese Calligraphy Master
Japanese Calligraphy Master
Washi paper making
Making the washi post cards
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