Japanese Style Christmas Cards

Walking around the shops the other day, I saw that Christmas goods are already for sale - in mid-October, in a country that doesn’t even celebrate Christmas (they celebrate Kentucky Fried Chicken instead). 

Japanese Christmas shopping

It’s not really a surprise to see the biggest commercial festival of the year starting well before the event itself, but I am surprised to see all the Christmas cards…

Japanese-style Christmas cards

Japanese Christmas Sumo cardWith a tradition of New Year’s post cards (nengajou), sending greetings cards like we do back home isn’t common practice in Japan. That’s not to say they don’t exist, but they’ve usually been limited in number and lacking in creativity. This year however, I’ve seen a whole new approach to Christmas cards in Japan. Instead of just a Santa Claus or a Christmas tree on the front, the Japanese-style (wa-fuu) Christmas card blends the bright red colour of Santa’s bottoms with traditional Japan.

You’ve got a bout of sumo, watched by hundreds of little Santas, then there’s Santa and his reindeer flying over Kyoto’s Kiyomizu temple, and more red-coated, bearded people enjoying Christmas at the Golden Pavillion (Kinkakuji). These little red gift-givers also pop up in  pop-up cards! And those are just the Christmas cards I bought, just a small sample of the many Japanese-style Christmas cards available.

Japanese-style Christmas cards - Kiyomizu temple
Japanese-style Christmas cards - Kinkakuji
Japanese-style Christmas cards - Pop-up

Update: It looks like the company responsible for these “mini-Santa” cards is Greeting Life, Inc.

6 comments

  1. ジェイソン (Jason)

    Nice. I’ll definately buy some of those for my family and friends back in Canada and Norway :)

    I’ve seen some Christmas stuff at Apita and Seki Jusco recently and thought it was a bit weird, as well. When I asked Reiko why the decorations were out so early even though we work on Christmas Day, she said “it’s just one of those strange Japan things.”

    I don’t think I’ll ever understand some of the things we do in this country, but it’s certainly fun to learn and say “ehh?” :P

  2. Katie

    I love those and am anxious to send Japanese Christmas cards out to our friends and family back in the U.S. Where did you find these? I know there is a Jusco about 30 minutes from me and same with Costco. Costco had decorations for sale last week, but no cards.

    • Nick Ramsay

      Hi Katie, I got them at Jusco, but that was a year ago. It’s still a bit early this year, and I’m surprised you say Costco already has decorations for sale. It gets earlier every year!

  3. Katie

    Yup, Costco has the decorations up. Two weeks ago there wasn’t nearly as much as they had on Friday. The Jusco near us is attached to a pretty decent mall, so I’ll be checking back there periodically. Thanks again!