Year 年

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Kanji: 年
Hiragana: とし、ねん
Pronunciation: Toshi, Nen
Meaning: year

Compounds:
年始 (nenshi) the beginning of the year; New Year’s Day; New Year’s greetings
年末 (nenmatsu) the end of the year
10年 (ju-nen) 10 years; decade
年齢 (nenrei) age
年賀状 (nengajo) New Year’s card; New Year greeting postcard;
New Year greeting postcards are a traditional Japanese way to greet the New Year. It is typically sent to family, friends, colleagues, business partners, and other people with whom one has a connection. Below are the basic elements of a New Year’s greeting card, as well as some unique cultural elements.

Design: New Year’s cards usually feature a design or illustration symbolizing the New Year. Common images include the Chinese zodiac (one of the twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac), Mt. Fuji, and a kadomatsu (a decorated pine tree). Vivid colors and traditional Japanese patterns are also sometimes used. Family photos are also often printed to recent events and situations.

Greetings: New Year’s greeting cards often include words wishing the recipient a happy new year, such as “明けましておめでとうございます (Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu; Happy New Year)”, “I wish you a happy new year,” and “Best wishes for a prosperous new year”.

Personal messages: It is common for New Year’s cards to include a short message about yourself or your family’s recent situation, aspirations, goals, or feelings of gratitude. They may also include wishes for the recipient’s health and happiness, and hopes for the coming year. This is an important element as it is a way to connect with those with whom you have a connection and relationship.

Delivery time: New Year’s cards are usually posted in the end of the year with a sign, 年賀(nenga) in red. If the postcard has the sign, the post officers delivert the postcard in the first day of the comming year.

These days, Japanese people greet on social networking sevices apps, like LINE and Instagrams, more. New Year’s post cards are reducing. However, New Year’s post cards is a important cultural activity as a New Year greeting and has a special meaning to the Japanese people.

Kun:
年の瀬 (toshinose) the end of the year; New Year’s Eve
年の功 (toshinoko, toshinokoh, toshinokou) old-person’s wisdom

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