Japan's kanji of the year is 'gold'...again...

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a cold, rainy day today. Make sure you dress warm and keep dry. Tomorrow will be overcast and then the rest of the week should be mostly clear. But it's not going to be very warm-overnight lows may creep down as low as 2C the middle of the week and daytime highs will be hover between 10C and 13C all week. It's starting to feel a lot like winter, isn't it?

This year, Japan’s Kanji of the Year winner is…

2016 kanji gold

“Gold” (kin, 金)…again!

This is the third time “gold” has been voted as Japan’s Kanji of the Year, previously being voted number one in the year 2000 and just as recently as 2012. Every year the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Society announces the Kanji of the Year, which is selected based on votes cast by the general public, at Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto.

But why “gold”? According to reports, the “gold” kanji was selected for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the high number of gold medals won at the 2016 Rio Olympics played a part in the selection. Secondly, the shift to minus interest rates also played a role, seeing as “interest rate” is “kinri” in Japanese, which incorporates the kanji for “gold” when written. Thirdly, Trump’s U.S. presidential election victory is said to have been a factor (presumably because of the gold hair?). And finally, Piko Taro, who shot to worldwide fame with the song ‘PPAP’, who’s known for wearing a gold-colored animal print outfit.

▼ Thankfully, they didn't choose his song title...
2016 kaji ppap

Last year, the kanji “an” (安) was chosen as the 2015 kanji of the year. The “an” kanji, meaning safety or peace, was believed to be particularly timely amidst the government’s attempts to expand the role of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.

Here are the Kanji of the Year winners for the last five years:

2015: an 安 (safety or peace, chosen at a time when the government’s attempts to expand the role of Japan’s Self-defense Forces was making news)

2014: zei 税 (tax, symbolizing Japan’s increase in consumption tax from 5% to 8%)

2013: rin 輪 (ring, symbolizing Japan’s successful bid to host 2020 Olympics)

2012: kin 金 (gold, symbolizing the medals won at the London Olympics and Shinya Yamanaka’s Nobel Prize)

2011: kizuna 絆 (bonds, symbolizing the importance of family and social bonds after the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster)

Do you think “gold” was the best choice of kanji representing the year 2016? Don't you think there should be a rule about how soon they choose the same kanji again? I mean, there are thousands of kanji to choose from, do we really need to use the same one every time there's an Olympic games? Ha ha! What would have you chosen?

Have a great day!

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