An annual event to celebrate the New Year, the shinnenkai is a great event to hold in conjunction with other organizations that have a Japan-related focus. Suggestions include the embassy or consulate, the Japan-America Society, local university Japanese departments, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in your city, or other such groups.

Time / Location to hold event

Shinnenkai celebrations are typically held in January. Avoid hosting the event the first week, as many people travel during this time and an early date could negatively effect attendance. Saturday nights tend to draw the greatest number of attendees, however, consider the needs of your local membership. Saturday events also permit members who live farther away to attend. Most chapters who hold shinnenkais report that they are the best attended event of the year.

Location can vary depending on the anticipated attendance and/or the resources in the area. Japanese restaurants are a popular choice, however, in this case it may be necessary to limit the number of attendees based on the capacity of the restaurant. For the last two years, JETAASE has held the shinnenkai in conjuction with the Consulate General of Japan for the Southeast region. The Consul General has generously offered his residence as the location. In this case, many of the planning details regarding date, time, maximum attendance, etc have been determined by the Consulate.


Paypal is an excellent method by which registration fees can be paid. The organization's paypal web address can be added to the invitation or evite. This simplifies the money collection for the treasurer and/or social coordinator.

Since many people will wear fomal attire, stick-on nametags are not a good choice for the shinnenkai. Pin-on or hanging nametags can be purchased at Office Depot. These nametags are reusable, but make sure that they are collected at the end of the event.

The shinnenkai program can vary depending on the interests and preferences of your chapter. Some activities to consider are Christmas gift exchange, karaoke, icebreaker activities, providing door prizes, and planning a nijikai. If a nijikai is planned, make sure that directions are provided to the second location as everyone may not be familiar with the area.

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