• SHARE

Welcome to the first month of the new year, which in Japan comes with the very straightforward name ichigatsu (一月) — literally, “month one”.

The numeral that is contained here, ichi (一, one), is rather essential in Japanese. It is the first character that children learn at school, and it is about the only one that consists of a single stroke if we discount katakana’s no (ノ) and two or three more obscure fellow Kanji. In contrast to its very simple shape, however, things can get a bit nasty when it comes to the varied readings of this little piece of minimal art.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)