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Otoshidama means happiness for children

Date Posted: 2001-12-27

If there’s one reason why children in Okinawa look forward to New Year’s, it’s the custom of receiving ”otoshidama,” or New Year’s money.

Parents, grandparents and relatives hand out money to all children in small envelopes made specifically for this purpose and available at all stores. The average otoshidama in Okinawa is ¥1,000 per envelope, and with members of extended families visiting each other, that can add up to a considerable amount of money, often several tens of thousands of yen.

Children usually are allowed to use their otoshidama as they see fit, and many have decided well in advance how to use their money.

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