Whether in Japan or in any other country in the world, it is customary throughout this month of January to send greeting cards to relatives, friends or business partners. In the Land of the Rising Sun, these greeting cards are called nengajo (年賀状), also known as nenga-hagaki (年賀はがき).
This is a tradition that Studio Ghibli willingly complies with every year. But this year, it is to all its fans that the famous Japanese animation studio sends its wishes for a happy new year via Twitter. We remember his nengajo last year, always by the same social network, which was a sullen-looking tiger but was extremely well received by fans.
2023 is the year of the Water Rabbit and it is only logical that the animal is the star of this year’s nengajo from Studio Ghibli, which unveiled it at the stroke of midnight on January 01, 2023.
Designed by Ghibli co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki, the mischievous-looking rabbit with a slightly chubby figure is called “Uu-chan”. On an intriguing background, Uu-chan is accompanied by a totoro and susuwatari (noiraudes, in French) and the message: “Happy New Year. A rabbit drawn by Mr Miyazaki. Its name is Uu-chan. It appears to have a twin named Fuu-chan. Thank you for your continued support in the year.”
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“Uu-chan”, pronounced “Ooh-chan”, is a nice nod to “usagi”, the Japanese word for rabbit, but then who is Fuu-chan? It seems that “Fuu-chan” is the abbreviation of “futago” (“twin”) and “fuku” (“luck”). The latter is a word often used at this time of the year – in “fukubukuro” good luck bags, for example, to wish prosperity. Or is “Fuu-Chan” a real character that Miyazaki has chosen to keep hidden for the moment? The mystery remains, and this has triggered a tsunami of questions and curiosity from fans:
Click on this link to read this article in French version.