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災 chosen as kanji character best representing 2018

19 Comments

The kanji character 災 (sai), meaning disaster or misfortune, has been chosen as the character best representing the sentiment and events in Japan in 2018.

In an event held on Wednesday 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 災 with a large calligraphy brush, whose bristles were 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 193,214 submissions were received this year online and by postcard, with 災 garnering 20,815 votes or 10.80% of the total.

The second most popular kanji was 平 (hei), meaning peace, which got 16,117 votes.

This year, many disasters hit Japan, including a typhoon, earthquake and heatwave, with hundreds of lives lost. The foundation said many people were reminded of the importance of preparing for emergencies as well as protecting themselves and helping one another. The scandals and issues surrounding stolen cryptocurrency, power harassment in the sports world, and the Finance Ministry’s alteration of land sale documents led people to view this year’s events as not only natural but man-made disasters, the foundation said.

The kanji for 2017 was 北 (north).

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19 Comments
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Appropriate.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The kanji character 災 (sai), meaning disaster or misfortune, has been chosen as the character best representing the sentiment of Buddhism in Japan in 2018. "Haka Jimai" became a popular word in Japan this year and trembled Buddhism temples throughout Japan. "Haka Jimai" means closing graves at temples. It has become difficult for many Japanese people to keep and maintain their graves at temples - decreased population, high cost of keeping graves, people are not living at the places where they have their ancestral graves.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Excellent choice! Sometimes the choices don't resonate or seem very bland, but this seemed well-chosen!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Excellent choice? What about 嘘 for all the lies that have been told this year. Or perhaps they should use 2 this year 詐欺 comes to mind.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't think this year was bad. Peaceful for Japan and strong stock market.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Definitely got to be 鬱 to reflect the loneliness of modern society and its fixation with gadgets, not to mention the huge crash in markets.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

災 is appropriate with all the disasters, including the summer heat that was declared one, but interesting that lots of people voted for 平, almost the complete opposite. Is that because this is the last year of 平成 before the new Emperor ascends next year?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The kanji character 災 (sai), meaning disaster or misfortune

Is this in reference to abenomics?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Next year will be better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This kanji should be used every year Abe govt continues to stay in power .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The kanji should be ''安'' for ''安本丹''. For all the fools in office.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan 2019 and 2020. You will do even better!

Future belongs to you, so many foreigners love Japan and want to travel and live in Japan. Tourism is exploding and will only continue to increase!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@papigiulio,

Excellent choice? What about 嘘 for all the lies that have been told this year. Or perhaps they should use 2 this year 詐欺 comes to mind.

Saying it was an excellent choice doesn't mean that it was the only choice that could be made. There were other choices that could have been equally appropriate.

I think the fact that many chose Hei (平) is actually a reaction to what this year held, a hope for what people desire.

One can wish that for 2019. As I always do at the dawn of every new year.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pm Abe chose 「転」for 2018

https://this.kiji.is/445511723579278433?c=39550187727945729

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Primarily Trump. Frankly, he's a disaster.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sai does represent Japan 2018 with so many natural disasters; truly a year of misfortune.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@AlexBecu

Japan 2019 and 2020. You will do even better!

Tokyo has a 100 year great quake cycle. The last one hit Tokyo in 1920.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why cant they choose a Character at the start of the year to at least... give some of us hope ?!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even if those events were indeed sorrowful, at least Japanese people have accepted what happened and after giving it the appropriate attention, they are ready to move on for the better.

頑張ってね, 日本!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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