KYOTO – The kanji “kin” (gold) was chosen as the best Chinese character to symbolize this year’s national ethos, a Kyoto-based kanji promotion organization said Wednesday.
Selected based on votes cast by the general public, the word signifies the gold medals won by Japanese athletes at the London Olympic Games as well as other events considered to be gold medal worthy, such as the opening of Tokyo Skytree and the awarding of a Nobel Prize to Shinya Yamanaka, according to the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation.
At Kyoto’s Kiyomizu Temple, where this year’s kanji was announced, chief priest Seihan Mori handwrote the winning character using a giant calligraphy brush on “washi,” or Japanese paper, 1.5 meters high and 1.3 meters wide.
The kanji that placed second was “wa,” or band, commemorating the annular solar eclipse observed this year.
Third place went to the kanji “shima,” or islands, following territorial rows between Japan, South Korea and China over islands in the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.