Welcome to a new year and, technically, a new decade. It’s about time for some new language. In December, The Japan Times looked at the 新語・流行語大賞 (Shingo, Ryūkōgo Taishō, New Words and Buzzwords Awards) for 2020, but these are new in the sense of “trending.” Most of the words themselves have been around for a while.

I’m thinking of something more innovative and refreshing. What if we tried to create new kanji?

China continues to create kanji, notably for the 元素周期表 (genso shūkihyō, periodic table of elements) and specifically the 第7周期元素 (dai-nana shūki genso, period 7 elements) on the seventh row of the table. This is where new elements with increasing atomic numbers are added. As the elements are synthesized, new kanji are created in order to express the element in a single character.