Japanese Designer New Year’s Cards of 2024

It’s been a rough start to the new year for Japan as one disaster begets another. We are of course talking about the evolving situation at Haneda airport, as well as the Noto Peninsula. Our hearts go out to everyone affected but we also want to highlight the many heroes of the situation: the news reporters who calmly and accurately delivered life-saving information to victims of the earthquake, to the crew of commercial airliner who safely evacuated close to 400 passengers in a matter of minutes. Japan is prone to natural disaster, and it’s times like these that all the preparation and training that typically goes unnoticed and un-thanked, really shine. Japan should be proud.

As tradition goes, we’ve been putting together our favorite nengajo, or New Years cards, from Japanese artists and designers. This year’s zodiac animal is the dragon, significant in that it’s the only mythical creature of the twelve. We present to you, in no particular order, some inspiring artwork in hopes that the traits of the dragon—strength, benevolence and good luck—are with those affected by recent events.


Kyoto-based illustrator Kashiwai created this lithograph print with soft lines a subdued hues, which contrasts nicely with the ferocious dragon.

Takuya Kawaguchi

Gorgeous black & white card from illustrator Takuya Kawaguchi.

Shizu Kondou

Toyama-based illustrator Shizu Kondou completely captures our vibe heading into the new year.

Rokkakudō DADA

Known for his work influenced by video game culture and Ukiyo-e, Rokkakudo DADA created this card.


Motion graphics artist Muneone imagined a salamander-like dragon made from new years foods like kamaboko.

Mutsumi Kawazoe

We came across several nengajo that reimagine cats as dragons. We love this one from Tokyo-based illustrator Mutsumi Kawazoe.

Tomato Market

A super-cute nengajo from illustrator Tomato Market with suggestions on how to spend new years.

Bento Graphics

Our friends at Bento Graphics, noodling around with the year of the dragon.

Mami Shimizu

The award for best-crafted new year’s card goes to graphic designer Mami Shimizu, who created this abstract image of a dragon in the sky using lithography and silkscreen.

Now Okamoto

Now Okamoto, a photographer who sees art in everyday objects—namely, clothespins—created this image using only his muse.

Nona Miyata

We loved illustrator Nona Miyata‘s animated greeting.

Kyoko Nakamura

Kyoto-based illustrator Kyoko Nakamura created this retro-style card.

Shun Takeuchi

Graphic designer Shun Takeuchi’s manages to be minimal yet exciting!!

Nao Sakamoto

We love the work of Hokkaido-based illustrator Nao Sakamoto, and this card is no exception!

Hayato Kagami

We’re rather fond of this black & white card from Youtuber Hayato Kagami.

Shunsuke Satake

Illustrator Shunsuke Satake always manages to brighten up our day.

Baku Maeda

Sapporo-based illustrator and artist Baku Maeda shows off one of his signature characters in this card.


We love the style of Kyushu-based illustrator and toy designer 0313!

Rin Takeda

Graphic designer and typography specialist Rin Takeda‘s card is a fun exercise in kanji. The year of the dragon is written as 辰 and pronounced tatsu, which is a homonym for “stand up.”


Embroidery artist Minori created this hand-made dragon.


The scariest, most-ferocious dragon we ever did see. From Hokkaido-based illustrator Tao.


Simple lines and simple colors yet such an outstanding card from illustrator Wakiko.

Masaya Mizukawa

How fun is this imaginary world where dragons depart from the airport? We love how illustrator Masaya Mizukawa incorporated the year, as well as how the dragon is “refueling”!

Yuka Nishiizumi

It’s fitting to wrap up our picks with this card from illustrator Yuka Nishiizumi and her tribute to 2023 (shogi, basketball, WBC) passing the baton to 2024.


  1. Thanks! They are great. Happy New year!

  2. Wonderful! I look forward to this feature each year. Interesting to compare to last year’s rabbit-themed images.

    I appreciate what you wrote about the resilience of the Japanese people in the face of a tumultuous start to 2024. You should be proud, and you have my respect. Cheers!

  3. Love them all. thanks for collecting and sharing.

  4. Carole-Ann Larose

    January 30, 2024 at 8:06 am

    Thank you for sharing these joyful dragon prints.

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