Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Kanji of the Year

In a word, 2004 was expressed as "Disaster."
As the priest of Kiyomizu Temple wrote out the big character, Japan Kanji Aptitude Tesing Foundation announced the Kanji of the Year: "Wazawai," meaning disaster or calamity.
The character was chosen by public votes. For the reasons, many people wrote that they felt god, or nature was infuriated with humans causing man-made disasters, that they felt men were helpless when facing natural disasters.

The Kaji for previous years are:

2003:"Tora" - tiger. Hanshin Tigers became baseball champions after 18 years.
2002:"Kaeru" - return, back. Abductees returned from North Korea.
2001:"Ikusa" - war, fight. 911, war against terror, anthrax
2002:"Kin" - gold, money, 'Kim'. Gold medals in the Sydney Olympics.
The two Kims meet.
1999:"Matsu" - end. End of the century, end of decency.
1998:"Doku" - poison. Curry poisoning in Wakayama, dioxin.
1997:"Taosu" - fall, knock down. Large scale bankruptcies like Yamaichi,
knocked down the rivals to compete in the world cup for the first time.
1996:"Shoku" - food, eat. O-157 food poisoning, mad cow disease.
1995:"Shin" - quake, shake. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake,
Aum sarin gas attack.

Just looking at these words gives you an overview of what happened in the past 10 years.


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