Kanji for ‘fake’ takes the ’07 cake

KYOTO (Kyodo) “Nise,” meaning “fake,” was chosen in a poll as the kanji of 2007, reflecting food mislabeling scandals, problems over political funds and faulty pension records, Kyoto-based Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation said Wednesday.

The foundation said it received 90,816 entries this year, of which 6,550, or 18 percent, selected nise, followed by “shoku” (eating) and “uso” (lie).

Food makers were the source of a slew of scandals this year, including one connected to Osaka-based high-class restaurant chain Senba Kitcho K.K., which was found to have been falsely labeling its beef and other products.

Now-defunct Hokkaido meat processor Meat Hope Co., Sapporo-based chocolate cookie maker Ishiya Trading Co., time-honored sweets makers Akafuku Co. and Ofuku Mochi Honke Y.K. in Ise, Mie Prefecture, and chicken processor Hinaidori K.K. in Akita Prefecture all engaged in false-labeling scams.