“Japan Post” New Year’s promotional postcard (“Nengajou”), c. 1930.

1930sArts & CultureLifestyle
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“Japan Post” New Year’s promotional postcard (“Nengajou”), c. 1930. When the Meiji government established Japan’s postal system in 1871, New Year’s greetings were still sealed in envelopes. But with the creation of the postcard medium, citizens quickly switched to sending New Year greetings via postcard from as early as 1875. In 1907, new legislation allowed postcards to be dropped in mail collection boxes as long as they were marked “New Year’s greetings” on the front.

See also:
“Year of the Dragon” (“Ryuu”), New Year’s postcards, 1916-1940.
“Bull-Dog Sauce” New Year’s advertising & propaganda postcard, 1938.
Ebisu, God of Good Fortune, New Year’s postcard, c. 1920.

“Sending nengajou, or New Year’s cards, is a very popular custom, especially for distant friends and acquaintances. The cards are similar, perhaps, to Christmas cards in the West except that they are usually in the form of postcards. The tradition of sending these is very strong, and the mailmen make every effort to deliver all the cards on the morning of New Year’s Day itself.

“About two weeks before the holiday, post offices begin accepting bundles of nengajou for New Year’s Day. The cards are then sorted, postmarked and tied in bundles for each household, and readied for delivery.

“Then on the morning of New Year’s Day, mailmen make deliveries to each house. It is a great joy to receive and read greetings from friends, near and far, on that morning.”

“Japan’s Three-Day New Year Holiday”, Japan Information Service/Consulate General of Japan (NYC), Japan Report, January 1, 1971

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