The kanji character 令 (rei), meaning beautiful or graceful, has been chosen as the character best representing the sentiment and events in Japan in 2019. The character was one of two characters for 令和 (Reiwa), the new era that began when Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1.
In an event held on Thursday afternoon and broadcast live by some TV stations, Seihan Mori, the head priest at the world-famous Kiyomizu Buddhist temple in Kyoto, drew the character 令 with a large calligraphy brush, whose bristles are the size of a bowling pin, on a huge piece of washi (Japanese paper).
The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, a Kyoto-based organization that promotes kanji, has conducted the survey nationwide every year since 1995. The foundation said 216,325 submissions were received this year online and by postcard, with 令 garnering 30,427 votes.
The second most popular kanji, with 14,850 votes, was 新 (shin), meaning new, followed by 10,281 for 和 (wa), meaning peace or harmony. Next were 変 (hen or strange) with 7,749 votes and the 2018 kanji of the year 災 (sai or disaster) with 7,302 votes.© Japan Today