Trivia: What is Otoshidama?

Uncategorized Dec 21, 2020

Q.

Have you heard of Otoshidama? What is it?

A.

On New Year’s Day, kids receive otoshidama (a money gift) from their parents and relatives. Japanese kids will start to learn how to appreciate money and how to handle it from this experience.

There are no rules for the amount; it is different in each family. But to give you an idea, relatives start giving kids around 1000-2000 yen ($10-$20) from when they are born to 10,000 yen ($100) when they complete school. Some people stop giving allowance once the kid has started his or her first job, however, the gift of giving money can continue beyond that into adulthood. Sometimes, mentors (senpai) in companies will even give their subordinates (kohai) otoshidama!

This might sound like a lot of money, but the trade-off is that people do not really give other items such as birthday gifts nor Christmas presents throughout the year, so the cash gift is likely the equivalent to what you’d contribute to your family member in other cultures.

Do you have a money-gift practice in your culture?

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