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While COVID-19 is still a popular topic, two big elections may result in a landslide of political lingo in your day:

  • 総裁選 (sōsaisen, presidential election) — The ruling 自民党 (Jimintō, Liberal Democratic Party) will elect a new president on Sept. 29 who will then become prime minister of Japan. The term used here is comprised of the “選” from 選挙 (senkyo, election) and 総裁 (sōsai, president/party leader). With the horse race heating up for party leader, you’re also likely to see 出馬 (shutsuba, running for election) comprised of the “出” from 出る (deru, to go out) and 馬 (uma, horse). Ex.: 総裁選に、4人の候補者が出馬している (Sōsaisen ni, yo-nin no kōhosha ga shutsuba shite-iru, Four candidates are running in the [party’s] presidential election).
  • 人寄せパンダ (hitoyose panda, a panda that gathers people) — This term is used to refer to candidates in an election who attract attention. Ex.: 小泉進次郎は党きっての人寄せパンダだ (Koizumi Shinjirō wa tō kitte no hitoyose panda da, Shinjiro Koizumi is great at gaining attention for the party).
  • 隠れ陽性 (kakure yōsei, hidden positive) — 隠れ is short for 隠れる (kakureru, to be hidden) and when combined with a noun refers to a character trait or situation that you’re hiding from others. In this case, it’s a positive COVID-19 result that leaves you asymptomatic. Ex.: コロナ感染に気付かず生活する隠れ陽性が増えている (Korona kansen ni kizukazu seikatsu suru kakure yōsei ga fuete-iru, The number of those living unnoticed with asymptomatic COVID-19 are increasing).
  • コロキャン (korokyan, COVID-19 cancellation) — A portmanteau of コロナウイルス (koronauirusu, coronavirus)and キャンセル (kyanseru, cancel), use this when an appointment or event is canceled because of COVID-19. Ex.: コロキャンが続いて来週の予定が無くなった (korokyan ga tsuzuite raishū no yotei ga nakunatta, As cancellations due to COVID-19 continue, my schedule for next week is empty).
  • ワクチンパスポート (wakuchin pasupōto, vaccine passport) — As the pronunciation suggests, the Japanese are using a katakana version of the English term. Ex.: EUでは、ワクチンパスポートの運用が7月から始まった (Īyū de wa, wakuchin pasupōtono un’yō ga shichi-gatsu kara hajimatta, The EU started to adopt the use of vaccine passports in July.)

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