''Shin,'' which means ''new'' in English, has been chosen as the single best kanji to characterize the year 2009, a Kyoto-based kanji promotion organization said Friday. The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation said it received a total of 161,365 entries for its poll to select the single best kanji reflecting society in 2009.
Of the total, 14,093, or 8.7%, picked ''shin,'' followed by ''kusuri'' (medicine) and ''sei'' (relationship). ''Shin'' was chosen to reflect a year of new ideas, such as the new government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the new lay jury system, the new highway toll system, as well as the new flu virus.
Kiyomizu temple chief priest Seihan Mori wrote the character with a dash of a calligraphy brush on a large ''washi'' Japanese paper which measures 1.5 meters long and 1.3 meters wide as rain soaked the ancient capital.
The kanji association has been conducting the poll on the year's kanji each year since 1995.
The annual event had been feared not to be held as usual after the kanji association's former head and his son were arrested and indicted earlier this year for allegedly causing their organization to suffer losses through its business practices involving their family firms.
Kiyomizu-dera, one of the best known Buddhist temples in Kyoto, reserved its decision to offer it as the venue of the announcement by the kanji organization.
In September, the kanji promotion body and the temple effectively agreed to continue the annual year-end event.© News reports