‘An,’ meaning safety, named Japan’s kanji of the year for 2015

KYODO

The kanji an, which denotes safety or peace, best symbolizes the national mood in 2015, a Kyoto-based kanji promotion organization said Tuesday.

The character reflects the claims and counterclaims that rang out nationwide when the Abe administration steamrolled security bills through the Diet this summer. There were major protests over the legislation, which will fundamentally expand the range of missions the Self-Defense Forces can take part in overseas.

The kanji could also be seen as having an international dimension, as terrorist attacks overseas stoked unease.

It was selected based on votes cast by the general public. Of the 129,647 entries received this year, an ranked at the top with 5,632, according to the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation.

At Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, where the result was announced, chief priest Seihan Mori handwrote the winning character using a giant calligraphy brush on a sheet of washi (Japanese paper) 1.5 meters high and 1.3 meters wide.

The kanji that came in second was baku (explosive) and third place went to sen (war). It was the 21st annual poll since the event began in 1995.

Last year, zei (tax) was chosen as the kanji symbolizing the year that people faced greater financial burdens following an increase in the consumption tax.

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    Really? Means ‘safety’ does it? And safety was selected this year because Abe has decided Japan can fight wars of choice? Or because of Japan Inc.’s ‘safe’ exploding killer airbags, or collapsing buildings with falsified data, or unsafe earthquake reinforcements, or riverbanks not being maintained in flood zones (I could give more examples of unsafe ‘safe’ Japan).
    Hmmm. Maybe the kanji chosen was 安, but everyone chose it thinking ‘cheap’, as in ¥安い (cheap ¥).
    In fact, let’s have a look at the top three; cheap, explosive, war. Not very inspiring.
    And let’s keep this in perspective, it wasn’t chosen by the people of Japan, but by a small group; who pays their bills? And let’s not also forget that the people (who didn’t choose these kanji to represent 2015) will have them rammed down their throats for the next two weeks by the Japanese media; ‘safe’, ‘explosive’, ‘war’, setting the public mood for 2016. That’s the real goal.

    • 99Pcent

      More sour grapes Japan bashing from the Chin-Ko troll.

    • http://durf.org/ Peter Durfee

      Um, no. It was chosen by anyone who chose to send in a vote in this contest, not by some secret cabal. You can go read the press release (www.kanken.or.jp/kanji2015/), which includes plenty of the comments that voters added explaining their choices. 安 got the top spot as part of Abe’s name, as part of 安全保障 (the “security” in the security bills that passed amid popular protest), and even as part of 不安, the “unease” people felt about the threat of terrorism or even economic struggle.

      It’s a character showing up in a lot of terms that resonated with people this year and probably deserves the top spot as a result.

  • Liars N. Fools

    安全 — more likely to find it by keeping to Japan’s peaceful course after World War II than to seek pro-American, anti-China adventurism under Abe Shinzo.

    Better than 富國強兵 is 富國強平.

  • Max Erimo

    Isn’t it ‘a’ (安)for Abe(安倍)and the year he got his way to screw Japan.
    Had to pick a kanji for this year at work.
    I chose (恥). We had to give our reasons. How about these.
    Toshiba(東芝)、Takata(タカタ)Airbag problem、Asahikasei(旭化成)、阿部総理、Nonomura Ryutaro(泣いてる議員)、Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo Olympic Stadium, Olympic Logo, etc etc etc

  • Max Erimo

    Isn’t it ‘a’ (安)for Abe(安倍)and the year he got his way to screw Japan.
    Had to pick a kanji for this year at work.
    I chose (恥). We had to give our reasons. How about these.
    Toshiba(東芝)、Takata(タカタ)Airbag problem、Asahikasei(旭化成)、阿部総理、Nonomura Ryutaro(泣いてる議員)、Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo Olympic Stadium, Olympic Logo, etc etc etc

  • Max Erimo

    Isn’t it ‘a’ (安)for Abe(安倍)and the year he got his way to screw Japan.
    Had to pick a kanji for this year at work.
    I chose (恥). We had to give our reasons. How about these.
    Toshiba(東芝)、Takata(タカタ)Airbag problem、Asahikasei(旭化成)、阿部総理、Nonomura Ryutaro(泣いてる議員)、Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo Olympic Stadium, Olympic Logo, etc etc etc