Sunday, July 29, 2012

7239 thank-yous

(1) Still trying to figure out how to tell her

Etegami is the perfect way to thank someone, whether you find it easy to express your feelings, or quite the opposite. A few months ago, the Japan Etegami Society (JES) announced a call for thank-you etegami. They received a total of 7,239 submissions. Many of these are included in the August issue of Gekkan Etegami, the JES official monthly magazine, and all submissions will be on display this summer at the two main etegami galleries, one in Tokyo and the other in Osaka.

I wish I could show them all to you, but I only have space here for a few sample etegami. The tiny photos in the magazine didn't scan very well, sorry.
(2) I wanted to make your life easier

(1) To my wife: Not sure exactly what the image represents, but the man who submitted this etegami is from a generation of men that do not easily express their emotions. He wants to thank his wife for putting up with him through thick and thin, but he finds it difficult to simply say "I love you."

(2)  To my parents. A pink carnation for the artist's late parents: "I can finally afford to do much to make life easier for you, but now it's too late."

(3) I found a hobby
(3) To my husband:  The artist says that she was so busy with her job, housework, and taking care of elderly parents, that she reached retirement without any hobbies of her own.  Her husband urged her to find one that she could continue into her old age, and then she discovered etegami.

(4) I can tell that Mother is happy
(4) To my sister: The oldest daughter, or the wife of the oldest son, often ends up being the caregiver of elderly parents. In this etegami, the artist thanks her elder sister for the tender care she gives to their aged and mentally deteriorated mother.

(5) I was so happy I cried.
(5) To my son. The artist fondly recalls the handbag that her son bought for her with his very first paycheck.

(6) To my mother: The artist likens the love and protection she received from her mother to broad beans in their soft fuzzy pod.

(6) Thank you for being the support of my heart
(7) Thank you for loving her
(8) Yummy looking sand-rice

(9) No one can take your place
(7) To my son-in-law: In Japan, the V-sign commonly represents approval or pleasure. In this case, pleasure that the young man has become part of her family.

(8) To my grandchild: Toys in a Sandbox. The artist thanks her young grandchild, through whom the world looks bright and full of hope.

(9) To my good friend, who is like no other.

(10) Let's separate the trash according to the rules

(11) Sorry I work you so hard.

(12) wild flowers on the path

(13) You are the greatest therapist
(10) To the hard-working garbage collector: I'm always grateful for what you do.

(11) To my bicycle: Thank you for taking me up the hill to the hospital through rainy and windy weather.

(12) To the wild-flowers blooming at the edge of my walking path, thank you!

(13) To my pet cat: The warmth of your body brings me healing.

(14) From the tsunami survivors to all in Japan who prayed for us and sacrificed for us after the March 11 disasters.

(14) The heart of the Japanese


  1. Dear Debbie,
    Thank you very much. touchy!! It's my most loving say in Japanese, "thank U/Arigatou." In old Japanese, originally, it meant, "Hard to happen in life," so ancient Japaneses felt, "Be grateful to sb/sth for sth." I'll keep that Japanese spirit in my heart!!
    Kind regards, Sadami

  2. Thank you for showing us these Debbie, I find 1 and 6 particularly touching.

  3. This post was a lot of work. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of painted gratitude and thanks.

  4. These are all quite touching and lovely works of art. It must have been interesting to have seen so many. I love #6, "Thank you for being the support of my heart."

  5. These are all just wonderful! I love the cat, and the bike. Such great expressions.
    Fabulous post, Debbie! Thank you :)

  6. what a lovely selection! i particularly like the cat!

  7. The depth of emotion comes through so clearly. Thank you for allowing us to see and feel.

  8. Thanks so much for this blog! I'd never heard of etagami until I stumbld across your work on Etsy. I just love the idea of these heartfelt thankyou "cards".

  9. Replies
    1. Evelyn, thanks for visiting! You understand this this particular post doesn't include any of my work, right? The images are from submissions to an etegami call and which were printed in the Japan Etegami Society magazine.