When in Japan you’ll HAVE to have a meishi, even pets have one!

Have you ever heard of a “mama meishi” or “pet meishi” card? When we think of name cards, we tend to imagine them as business tools.

However, instead of linking businesspeople, mama or pet cards are used to create networks of mothers and pet owners.

These personalized cards can easily be ordered over the Internet or made at home using a personal computer.

In recent years, parents and guardians of kindergartners and primary school students can be seen exchanging such cards at entrance and graduation ceremonies.

Some cards have face photos and names of children, making it easy for parents who receive them to recognize who gave them the card. They are a useful way for parents to introduce themselves to others.

One reason such cards have become more popular is that it has become easier to make them. Photos and illustrations can freely be downloaded onto computers from the Internet, making it easier to create original designs.

  • A pet meishi made by “Pripark”


Another reason is that the management of personal information has become stricter among school authorities.

An increasing number of nursery schools, kindergartens and primary schools do not provide the names of children and parents or guardians along with information such as addresses and telephone numbers. Parents thus found it necessary to establish contact with each other through the exchange of name cards.

Ordering from the Web

Personalized name cards can be ordered from the Internet through various services, including “Design meishi dot net” (www.designmeishi.net/) operated by K-1 Print Co., and “Pripark” (www.pripark.jp/) operated by Cosmo Graphic Co., both based in Tokyo.

On Design meishi’s website, users can select their favorite design, then add elements such as a photo, address and telephone number. A few days later, the image of the card is sent by e-mail. If there are no corrections to the image, the real cards are sent by post a few days later.

Orders can also be made for “pet meishi” and “senior meishi” with larger characters for elderly people. A set of 50 cards starts at 1,890 yen.

Pripark offers a similar made-to-order service. One feature of its cards is the option of waterproof paper. This is useful if parents exchange cards near a pool or at a park where children are playing with water. A 30-card set starts from 1,600 yen.

K-1 Print and Cosmo Graphic have subsidiaries in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, and Tomakomai, Hokkaido, respectively, making it possible to directly confirm the quality and color of the paper used for the cards.

Cards can also be made at a normal print shop, but it would be wise to ask them whether they have templates, as this makes it easier to create name cards.

Do it yourself

People adept at using a personal computers can make name cards on their own. For example, Adobe Systems (www.adobe.com/jp/) provides 50 templates for “kodomo meishi” (children’s card).

With Adobe’s photo editing software, “Adobe Photoshop Elements 11,” you can process photos and illustrations to personalize cards. The software is priced at 13,800 yen, but a 30-day, free trial version is available.

To make a card, a user only needs to download the software and insert the photo they want to use. Information such as name, address and phone number can then be added. The font characteristics and layout can be changed according to who the card will be given to.

Categories: Japanese customs, Stories about Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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