Elementary school kids in Tokyo received an average 26,790 yen as “otoshidama” New Year’s allowance this year, down 575 yen from last year amid the severe economic downturn, according to a survey conducted by Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank.

The average amount of the customary New Year’s gift for children has fallen for two consecutive years after peaking at 27,568 yen in 1997, the survey said. This year’s figure marks the first year-on-year plunge exceeding 500 yen since 1983, it said.

The annual survey, which was started in 1975, was conducted Jan. 5 and 6 on 504 fourth- through sixth-grade elementary students living in Tokyo and their mothers. Children received money from an average of 6.8 adults, who each gave an average of 3,942 yen, the survey said. As for how they will use the money, 62.4 percent of the children said they will buy toys and games, including Nintendo software.

While about two-thirds of the mothers polled expressed anxiety that their children were receiving too much money, the survey found 90 percent of the mothers consider the money-giving custom “one of the big joys of childhood.”

Meanwhile, the survey showed that kids were well aware of the nation’s economic slump, and when asked how much they expected, the amount came to an average of 21,866 yen, 1,327 yen less than what they hoped for last year.

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