KYOTO – The kanji for kin, meaning gold or money, has been picked as the character best symbolizing this year’s social mood in Japan, a Kyoto-based kanji promotion organization said Monday.
The selection came after Japan won 12 gold medals at the Rio Olympics and former Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe resigned in June over a political money scandal. Some also cited the “golden” hair belonging to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
It is the third time kin has been chosen as kanji of the year. The other times were 2000 and 2012.
The selection was based on votes cast by the general public. Among the 153,562 entries received this year, kin ranked first with 6,655 entries, according to the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation.
In Kyoto, Chief Buddhist priest Seihan Mori of Kiyomizu Temple handwrote the character with a giant calligraphy brush on a giant piece of paper at the famous temple where this year’s kanji was announced.
The kanji that placed second was sen, meaning selection, following the U.S. presidential election and Britain’s decision in a referendum to leave the European Union.
The kanji for hen, meaning change, took the third spot in the 22nd annual poll that began in 1995, reflecting changes in the global situation and a series of natural disasters such as earthquakes in Kumamoto and Tottori prefectures.
Last year, the kanji for an, meaning safety or peace, was chosen after the controversial security bills to expand the overseas role of the Self-Defense Forces drew public protests, as well as a series of terror attacks around the world that stoked widespread fear.