According to the Chinese zodiac, 2023 is the year of the rabbit. In celebration of this transition, Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli shared a charming nengago—a type of New Year's card—via Twitter. Drawn by the 81-year-old director Hayao Miyazaki himself, this illustration features a cartoon rabbit holding a card that reads “2023,” with a quick sketch of Totoro and few Sootsprites in the background.
Miyazaki created a nengago for last year's zodiac of the tiger, so many were hoping he would carry on the tradition. Sure enough, a brand new adorable drawing was posted in the early moments of the new year, much to the delight of Studio Ghibli fans around the world. It was accompanied by a message, saying, “Happy New Year. A rabbit drawn by Mr. Miyazaki. Its name is Uu-chan. It appears to have a twin named Fuu-chan. Thank you for your continued support in the year.”
The name “Uu-chan,” derives from the Japanese word for rabbit, usagi. Similarly, “Fuu-chan” is related to the words for futago, meaning “twin,” and fuku, which translates to “luck.” This is likely a reference to Japanese fukubukuro lucky bags, which are sold in the New Year at a discount and contain an array of unknown items. It will be interesting to see what Miyazaki creates for the following year, which is represented by the dragon.
Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki shared an illustration for 2023, featuring a drawing of a rabbit.
— スタジオジブリ STUDIO GHIBLI (@JP_GHIBLI) December 31, 2022