Japan loves sweets, cute animals, and seasonal celebrations, so this had to happen.
Nestle had a stroke of amazingly good luck when someone noticed that Kitto Katto, the corrupted Japanese pronunciation of Kit Kat, sounds a lot like kitto katsu, Japanese for “I believe you will win/succeed.” As a result of this fortuitous linguistic coincidence, students studying for entrance exams started carrying around and munching on the chocolate-covered wafers, and before long giving someone a pack of Kit Kats became a quick and easy way to say “Good luck!”
Now, they’re also a way to say “Happy New Year!” with this lineup of special Kit Kat packages available at Japanese post offices from now until January 8.
Included with the special 135-yen (US$1.13) Otoshidama Kit Kat is an envelope for otoshidama, the monetary gift given to children to celebrate New Year’s in Japan. It’s decorated with illustrations of plum blossoms, a traditional symbol of the season, but the other side of the box is just for 2016.
Since 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, the boxes are adorned with smiling simian crossovers with other Japanese New Year’s imagery. The monkeys above are cosplaying as kagami mochi, the distinctively shaped rice cakes set out for New Year’s in Japan. Other choices include this monkey as Yebisu, the fisherman/god of prosperity/Ebisu beer pitchman, posing with an auspicious seabream…
…and this cute little guy dressed up like one of Japan’s maneki neko.
Each box contains three mini Kit Kat packs individually enclosed in Year of the Monkey wrappers, a limited number of which are golden in color.
If you’re more into cute boys than cute animals, post offices in Japan have also started selling the newest version of the Kit Mail, priced at 250 yen, which is specifically for those taking entrance exams or job-hunting in the spring and can be mailed as-is by attaching a 140-yen stamp. Covered with cherry blossoms in full bloom, one side of the box features space to write a persona message, while the four members of boy band Dish// grace the other.
After assembling the included hologram kit, placing it atop your smartphone will cause an image of the vocalists to appear, as they sing their song “Klap” to cheer you on in your academic or professional endeavors.
Like the Otoshidama Kit Kat, the Kit Mail is currently available at Japanese post offices, and will be sold until March 31. And if you feel like it’s missing something without a cute monkey illustration, Japan Post has just the stamp for you.