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This week’s featured article

SHUSUKE MURAI and TOMOKO OTAKE, THE JAPAN TIMES

This year’s most memorable buzzwords in Japan were announced Tuesday, with the words bakugai and toripuru surii jointly taking home the top honors.

Eight other winners of the 2015 U-Can New Words and Buzzwords Awards included two phrases tied to political events and the massive protests organized by the opponents of new security laws. Shuntaro Torigoe, a journalist who headed the selection committee, said 2015 was a year of politics.

The winners are “a mirror to reflect the reality of Japan,” Torigoe said at an awards ceremony in Tokyo. “The top 10 list shows what Japanese society looked like this year.”

Bakugai roughly translates as “explosive shopping spree” — a phrase referring to record-level shopping sprees by Chinese tourists.

Luo Yiwen, president of the Laox electronics store chain, said his company will strive to keep the bakugai phenomenon going. “Bakugai shows the high quality of Japanese goods,” he said.

The buzzwords were chosen from a short list of 50 words and phrases that were picked based on results from a questionnaire answered by readers of an annually published book explaining news events. Here are some explanations of the year’s best and other top buzzwords:

Toripuru surii: “triple three” — a rare baseball achievement in which a player excels in three areas. Two players achieved the feat this year.

Abe seiji o yurusanai: “We will not tolerate Abe’s politics” — a slogan used by people opposed to the security legislation backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Ichi-oku sō katsuyaku shakai: “A society in which all 100 million people have an active role to play” — a policy goal announced by Abe when he reshuffled his Cabinet.

Gorōmaru pōzu: “Goromaru pose” — rugby star Ayumu Goromaru’s trademark pose before making a kick.

• SEALDs: The youth protest group that mobilized tens of thousands of demonstrators against the security legislation.

Dorōn: drone — A man was arrested for landing a drone carrying trace amounts of radioactive materials on the roof of Abe’s office, prompting the government to draw up new laws.

First published in The Japan Times on Dec. 2.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “My 2015.”

Game

Collect words related to awards, e.g., trophy, celebration, etc.

New words

1) buzzword: a word or phrase that is popular at a particular time; e.g., “The buzzword in this business is ‘cloud computing.’ ”

2) spree: a sudden indulgence in or outburst of an activity; e.g., “The couple went on a crime spree across the city.”

Guess the headline

Ba_ _ _ _ _ , toripuru surii share top honors as year’s most memorable b_ _ _ _ _ _ _s in Japan

Questions

1) Which words among those mentioned were related to politics?

2) How were words nominated to be the buzzword of the year?

3) What trend does bakugai reflect, according to the article?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you remember any of last year’s buzzwords?

2) What do you think is the most apt buzzword for Japan this year?

3) What are your own most memorable buzzwords for 2015?

Reference

流行語大賞が決まると1年も終わろうとしていることを感じるという方も多いのではないでしょうか。一口に流行語と言っても、政治経済界からスポーツ界、 芸能界と様々な分野からエントリーされた単語やフレーズが並びます。国民の関心を映し出す流行語に政治にかかわる言葉が多いことは、今年は政治の 動向に大きな注目が集まったことを意味し、また個別の言葉を見ると実際に 政府に対して国民が大きな行動を起こした年だったことにも気づかされます。

一時の流行りとして使われなくなるものもあれば、その後定着し当たり前のように使われる言葉もあるでしょう。来年はどのような言葉が並ぶのでしょうか。ポジティブな言葉が並ぶような2016年となることを願いながら、自分 自身の2015年を振り返り”私の2015年流行語”を考えてみるのも楽しいかもしれません。

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