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The first aisatsu (greetings) of the year. Out this custom, the more convenient modern custom of sending New Year cards (nengajo) was born. The New Year cards that are delivered on Nengajo became popular after the Japanese post office began issuing postcards in the Meiji Period (1868-1912). This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text:
The ceremonial breakfast having been disposed of, the members of the family sally-fort to pay their respects to their friends. Merchants (or their representatives), dressed in faultless attire, call upon their friends and customers, and leave cards, or give a personal greeting. Friends and enemies (for the moment) are reconciled, and people who were wrangling with each other on the last day of the old year, are now indulging in hypocritical smiles, and an old Japanese maxim hath it:—“Ye, the devil of the eve, comes for homage in the morn!”1
See all New Year images on Old Photos of Japan.
1 Tamamura, Kozaburo (1906). The New Year in Japan. Tamamura Shashinkan.