Oseibo(御制帽) and Ochugen(御中元)

Oseibo and Ochugen are the seasonal gift-giving traditions in Japanese society. People and companies exchange gift to indebted persons and firms during July and December months. Ochugen is the midyear gift send during the first half of July month while Oseibo is the year-end gift of December month. We could see these gifts being arranged on special racks in the supermarkets, gift shops etc. These are usually sent to whomever one wants to express his gratitude- teachers, boss, relatives, friends, between company and clients, etc. 


The Ochugen gift of July is to express one’s care and prayings for the receiver’s good health in the summer season. The gift packets of Ochugen will be usually cans of juice or other beverages. Sweets and other products are also chosen as gifts. The month of July is the time when Japanese society celebrated the Obon festival and especially July 15th is the Obon day. 

Ochugen gifts packets have special symbols written on papers with white and red coloured ribbons knotted at the middle. The combination of white and red colours are considered as the symbols of celebration in Japan. The upper part of this paper will have the writing ‘御中元’ and the name of the sender will be written at the bottom part of the knot.


Oseibo is also sent in the same way to express a year’s gratitude to persons or companies to whom one is really indebted to. Similar to the Ochugen gifts, Oseibo gifts have the writing ‘御制帽’ on the upper side of the paper with red and white knotted ribbons. The lower part has the sender’s name written. Oseibo will be usually sweets, snacks, beer, coffee or so.

Both Oseibo and Ochugen gifts range from 2000 yen onwards depending on the range of relationship and indebtedness with the person to whom it is sent. Even though these two gift-giving seasons exist, Oseibo is given more importance in the Japanese society than the Ochugen.

Childbirth, Wedding, Housewarming ceremony etc. are other occasions when Japanese society exchange gifts between them. Along with various gift items, monetary gifts are preferred during these occasions.