The artwork on the next three pages are the winning entries in the annual nengajö, or New Year’s card, design contest, sponsored by the Hawai‘i Association of Teachers of Japanese. It is a statewide competition for students learning Japanese language and is open to elementary, middle, high school and college students whose teachers are HATJ members.
Awards are presented in the categories of most artistic, most original, most comical and “New Year’s in Hawai‘i” for each school level. The entries are judged for their artistic value, the correct “spelling” of the Japanese words that appear on the card and the form of the Japanese characters.
If you were born in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 or 2007, you were born in the “Year of the Boar,” according to the Japanese and Tibetan zodiacs. In the Chinese zodiac, the year is referred to as the “Year of the Pig.”
According to chinesenewyear.net, pigs — or boars, we assume — have “a beautiful personality and are blessed with good fortune in life.” Pigs, or boars, are realists. They do not spend money extravagantly, but they enjoy life and love entertainment. They are slightly materialistic, which motivates them to work hard. You can always count on people born in the “Year of the Pig” to be energetic and enthusiastic about their work, even if it is something boring. Given the chance, they will take positions of power and status. That said, can you see these characteristics in these nengajö?