Wednesday, December 13, 2006
And the winner is........
No, what I am talking about is something much closer to home and much more important. Namely which of the 1,994 kanji officially recognized in Japanese will be named "Kanji of the year" (今年の漢字）。Its a contest run to determine which kanji character best represents the year gone by. Submissions for the Kanji of the Year were sought from the public by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, and 85,322 people responded. In a ceremony in Kyoto at a temple, the winning character is painted on a piece of butcher block paper to in front of a very large crowd. Some of the previous winners have been:
2001-「戦」 Sen., which means war-because of 9-11 and Afghanistan
2002- 「帰」 Kaeru- to return to a place. In honor of the return of the abductees.
2003- 「虎」 tora- Tiger. Honoring the Hanshin Tigers who won their first Central League pennant in 18 years. Also folks felt Japan sending troops to Iraq was like walking into a Tiger's den. (koketsu).
2004- 「災」 wazawai-disaster. Nigata had an earthquake and there were 27 Typhoons that year. This was chosen before the Tsunami, but it seems appropriate.
2005- 「愛」 Ai-love. People reaffirmed the importance of nurturing love through various events in 2005, such as the marriage of the former Princess Nori and the relief activities for victims of the disasters in America and Pakistan.
And this years winner?
"The envelope please............and the winner is!"
The Chinese character of the year, "Inochi,"
which means "life," is unveiled Tuesday at Kiyomizu
Temple here by Chief Priest Seihan Mori. The character
was chosen because several student suicides and other
incidents underscored the importance of human life,
said the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation,
which organizes the annual event
So there you have it. A contest that really means something. Unlike that blog thingy that just passes so many deserving people by............