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Is it true? 2012/2/11 01:26
Hi. I'm Kamila. I want to ask you a question. I've a Japanese friend. Last year in summer his mother died. I didn't know about it. And I gave him a present for New Year, & send a message with congratulation. But he didn't reply me. After holiday he said that he's sorry for didn't reply for my message. he said that his mother died last year thats why he can't congratulate anybody & cant take any congratulations from anybody. Because it is Japanese culture.
But a few days ago when I went to his apartment I came across to a present that I gave him a month ago. I was very angry & sad. He even didn't open my present. But didn't say anything to him. Then I remember his words. Is it true that it is not permitted him to take even a gift? Or he only don't want to have anything from me? Please help me? I really want to know. Thank you.
by Kamposh  

Re: Is it true? 2012/2/11 11:13
It IS true that in Japan when a family member passed away in the previous year we are not supposed to exchange "happy new year" message on the New Year. We are in "mourning." We send out postcards around late Nov. to inform others that because of a death in the family, we will not be sending out New Year's cards (thus please do not send us any). That is the custom in Japan.

I don't know if you are in Japan or in your home country, but he should have explained that custom and at least thanked you for the message and the present.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Is it true? 2012/2/11 13:18
Here is an explanation about greeting card of new year. See "Manner", last chapter.
http://www.allinjapan.org/new-years-postcards-in-japan-nengajyo/
A blogger wrote her experience.
http://katnsatoshiinjapan.blogspot.com/2008/12/mochu-hagaki.html

Person who have a deceased family member must refrain from congratulating. People treat the custom nervously and carefully.
by waiwai (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is it true? 2012/2/11 15:53
Kamila,

Yes, it is customary to avoid congratulations, but it also comes from the fact that often people are too sad to exchange words or gifts of happiness.

Maybe he didn't feel like opening a New Year's gift when everyone else in a similar situation isn't. Or maybe he just wanted to live in peace, away from all the New Year atmosphere, and think about his mom for a while.

Whatever it is, this is a special New Years for him. Take it easy.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is it true?: mochuu custom 2012/2/12 07:54
I am interested in explanations introduced by waiwai, but there is one thing which I suppose is not true: "it is customary not to send a nengajyou out of respect for the deceased."
Distinction between insiders and outsiders counts in Japanese traditional manners especially as to honorific words and behaviors; respect for an insider is omitted or weakened in expressions when there is an outsider to pay respect for.

AK: when a family member passed away

Here a family member is not limited to one in the same household.
A person will be in mourning for his/her spouse, parent and grandparent, maybe also for his/her child, grandchild and sibling.

he said that his mother died last year thats why he can't congratulate anybody & cant take any congratulations from anybody. Because it is Japanese culture.

In Japan, if a person informs people of his/her relative's death soon after it happened, some of them may offer condolence money called kouden; and, if a person does not tell people that he/she is in mourning, some of them may offer gift called o-seibo in December.
So, if a person lets his/her acquaintances not know the death then notice them that he/she is in mourning, they don't have to offer neither.

"Being in morning, we refrain / refrained from New Year greetings" is a typical expression of a mourning-notice.
Like you did, people may send New Year gift without knowing the death; in that case, as he did, the receiver make a mourning-notice later, in order not to disturb the sender's happiness during New Year days.

I was very angry & sad. He even didn't open my present.

A parcel has a special label if its content needs to be consumed early or be put under cool condition immediately.
Maybe he is keeping your gift as it is sent because he found no such label on the package and in order to accept your greeting when he recovers.

Almost no one can tell how and what the deceased has been to someone.
Maybe saying he's sorry for not making reply is the best thing he can do now as to your gift.

by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Correction 2012/2/12 08:07
Sorry for my grammatical errors.
In my last post,
: "they don't have to offer neither" should be "they have to offer neither."
: "mourning-notice" should be "notification of mourning."
: "the receiver make" should be "the receiver makes."
: "as it is sent" should be "as it was sent."

by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: Is it true? 2012/2/12 15:52
As almost everything in Japan, there are variations between people, but the no celebration, no cards, no osechi, no mochi making, etc is quite strictly observed in my bubble of Japan.

Otoshidama seems exempt for children, but the envelope should be sombre, from my experience.

Keep it in perspective - his mother died...that would be preoccupying my thoughts - rather than why didn't he open my present. Without wanting to sound rude are you sure you aren't be a bit self absorbed....
by girltokyo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is it true? 2012/3/2 03:46
Thanks for your helps and advices. I thought about on my own and I understand that I thought only about myself. Now I see.
Arigatou gozaimashita.
by Kamposh rate this post as useful

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