The kanji character 密 (mitsu), meaning close, has been chosen as the character best representing the sentiment and events in Japan in 2020. The character was used in the government’s recommended anti-coronavirus measures of avoiding the 3密 or "3 Cs" -- closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings (密閉, 密集, 密接).
In an event held on Monday afternoon, Seihan Mori, the head priest at the world-famous Kiyomizu Buddhist temple in Kyoto, drew the character 密 with a large calligraphy brush 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 208,025 submissions were received this year online and by postcard between Nov 1 and Dec 6, with 密 garnering 28,401 votes.
The second most popular kanji with 13,655 votes was 禍 (ka), meaning epidemic, followed by 病 (byo), meaning sick. Next were 新 (shin or new), 変 (hen or strange), 家 (ie or uchi for home) and 滅 (metsu or reduce).
Last year, the character 令 (rei), meaning beautiful or graceful, was chosen. It was one of two characters for 令和 (Reiwa), the new era that began when Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1, 2019.© Japan Today