The custom of sending nenga-jou – or New Year’s postcards – exist in Japan and is pretty much followed and practiced by almost everyone. The idea is to send these postcards out before the year comes to a close, and postal services will work extra hard to ensure these cards reach their intended addressees by 1 January of the new year (or no later than within the New Year’s first week).
The custom is quite similar to that of Western customs of sending out Christmas greetings – both serve the purpose of informing family and friends living apart/far away – since many Japanese live away from their birth/hometowns because of work or studies, and busy schedules sometimes mean they may not be able to return home to visit relations in person – that the sender is alive and well. Since the nenga-jou is normally in the format of a simple postcard, general messages written often convey the sender’s wishes for a good end to the old year, greetings for a good new year ahead to the receiver.
For the coming year 2019 – also the Year of the Boar in accordance to traditional zodiac cycle – popular rhythm game franchise “Uta no Prince-sama” (i.e. ‘UtaPri’) has announced that they have joined hands with Japan Post and will be launching for sales a special New Year’s postcard set that contains New Year’s greeting and messages from the 2D idols of “ST☆RISH” and “Quartet Night”! The concept behind the UtaPri New Year’s Postcard is simply to convey the 2D idols’ “thank you!” to fans and supporters; and “yoroshiku!” for the coming year.
Graphics for the postcard set utalise both idol units’ “Setsu Getsu Ka” (lit. Snow, Moon, Flower) image that was introduced for their 7th Anniversary. The idols’ costumes were designed by Tokyo fashion-designer Keita Maruyama; with original character designs done by illustrator Chinatsu Kurahana. The set will contain one postcard in landscape orientation picturing all 11 members of both idol units; as well as 10 pieces of solo-visual postcards each featuring one individual member’s frontal picture and one postcard (random one-1-of-11 designs) featuring the full-bodied shot of one of the units’ members and said member’s hand-written New Year’s message (printed).
Group postcard – one piece
Solo-visual card (frontal/bust shot) – 10 pieces randomly out of 11
Solo-visual special card (full-bodied shot) – one piece randomly out of 11
The UtaPri New Year’s Postcard Set retails at JPY 1,500 and will be available in both physical (i.e. paper-copy) version as well as digitalised downloadable version. There are three ways in which the postcards set may be purchased:
- Fans who would like to order the digitalised version may do so via Japan’s Post’s webstore from 10 September 2018. The digital postcard sets will be available for downloading from 1 November 2018.
- Fans who prefer to purchase the hard-copy paper version may do so via Japan’s Post Net Shop starting from 1 November 2018 ～ 25 December 2018. They have the options of getting the purchases delivered to their intended addresses; or be self-picked-up at the nearest local post office branch
- Fans may also be able to purchase the hard-copy postcards set at these selected Japan Post branches – Sapporo Central Post Office Branch, Tokyo Central Post Office Branch, Nagoya Central Post Office Branch, Osaka Central Post Office Branch and Fukuoka Central Post Office Branch – from 1 November 2018 ～11 January 2019.
Detailed information on the UtaPri New Year Postcards Set are available at the project’s special site.