Happy New Year!
By now you should have received nengajo (年賀状) / New Year Cards in your mailbox. Nengajyo are the equivalent to the Western custom of sending out Christmas cards. The latest date nengajo are delivered by is January 7th. If you have received a card from someone you did not send one to, it is customary to send one in return within the first week of the year. If you`ve run out of New Year`s card don`t worry, stop by the nearest convenience store or post office, pick one up and send out before January 7th. *If you think the nengajyo will arrive at the destination post January 7th it is customary to send a special winter greeting card instead.
Nengajyo not only helps express your gratitude towards and keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues, it also enable receivers to win prizes in a nation-wide lottery. Located on the lower right hand corner of most New Year Postcards is a six-digit number. In mid-January, Japan post selects random numbers, similar to a New Year Postal Lottery. If you match any of those number you can win a prize (100,000 yen cash, travel, electronics, food or stamps).
“According to NHK, the idea of combining nengajo with a lottery started in 1949, when the price of a postcard was 2 yen. In the years right after the war, the exchange of nenga-hagaki took on special meaning, since it was a good way to inform friends and relatives that you were still alive and where you were. The lottery, which is called otoshidama, the term for New Years gifts of cash given to children, made it even more appealing, because so many people had nothing at the time, so the prizes were for the most part practical: sewing machines, skeins of wool, bolts of fabric. As Japanese society became more affluent, the prizes became more aspirational: TV sets and other high-end home appliances, or coupons for international or domestic travel.” – Yen for Living
The 2020 Nengajyo lottery numbers will be announced on Monday, January 20th via newspaper, tv and on the Japan Post website. Check the number on the back of your card to see if you’ve won. If you`re a winner, take the winning postcard and ID to a post office by July 20, 2020 to claim your prize. Good Luck!
2020 Nengajyo Lottery Numbers (TBD)
|Special Prize||Percentage of winnings
(number of winnings)
|Number of Tickets|
|Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening ceremony / Closing ceremony||–||2 pairs|
|Tokyo 2020 Olympics Viewing Tickets||1 in 10 million cards||181|
|2020 Prizes||Percentage of winnings
(number of winnings)
|First Prize (select A or B)
All six digits need to match
|(A) Electronic money gift “EJOICA Gift” from various online websites (310,000 yen)
(B) 300,000 yen (cash)
|One in one million cards||
Only the last four digits need to match
|Furusato Food & Parcels||One in 10,000||
Only the last two digits need to match
|New Year stamp sheet||Three in 100||
If you are spending the New Year in Japan learn about the traditional and fun!
Japan Post Nengajyo (New Years Postcard) Lottery
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