Japanese New Year Postcards

I lived in Tokyo for a year and a half until the big earthquake and during that time I took to the Japanese tradition of sending out a new years postcard (nengajo, 年賀状). They usually feature the Asian zodiac animal of that year. The post office there holds everyone’s new years postcards and magically delivers them all on January 1st.

Year of the Monkey 2016.  Keep reaching for the moon!
Go your own way in 2015, the year of the sheep
The top left says 2013 (in a complex Japan specific year numbering system) and the character below it is the special character for horse they use for year of the horse, different from the everyday horse character mind you. On the right it basically says “Happy New Year”.  Happy 2014, may the year of the horse gallop in like a noble steed, with you the samurai archer taking aim and swiftly striking down your fears, doubts, and obstacles standing in between you and happiness.
2013 was the year of the snake.  Red snakes are good luck and white snakes are the embodiments of gods.  The bottom left says “Happy New Year”, the single character at the top is “snake” but this character is special and only used to refer to the year of the snake and different one is used in everyday language.  On the right it says 2013 (with a complex Japan specific year numbering system).  The bad thing about gold paint is that it doesn’t reproduce well at all.  the good thing is that the real painting looks awesome with gold paint.  Happy New Year!
Its a real painting for once not photoshop yay!
2012 was the year of the Dragon. Basically the bottom says Happy New Year and the top says 2011 and the final box below that is the character for dragon.
Happy 2011!  Throughout Asia, because of an old story, it is believed that there is a rabbit on the moon (instead of a man on the moon).  Basically the bottom says Happy New Year and the top says 2011 and the final box below that is the character for rabbit.
2010 was the year of the Tiger.  Also part of an ongoing crow series of paintings.
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