Every December (for the past seventeen years or so), a 漢字 (Japanese (Chinese) written character) is chosen which has a meaning that best summarizes the passing year.
Last year the character 「絆」 (bonding) was chosen because of the way the world came together to help Japan after the March 11th earthquake.
Well, this year, for the first time since this tradition began, the 「今年の漢字」 (“Kanji of the Year“) will be a repeat.
In the year 2000, the 「今年の漢字」 (“Kanji of the Year“) was 「金」 (“gold”) because Japan won gold medals at that year’s Olympics and also because “Kin-san” of the famous elderly Japanese twins “Kin-san and Gin-san died that year—and her name meant “gold”.
This year too, 「金」 (“gold”) was chosen again to be the 「今年の漢字」 (“Kanji of the Year“).
And once again the reason for this choice was because of the gold medals that Japan won at the Olympics. Other reasons cited were the opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree, the Nobel Prize won by a Japanese professor, and the solar eclipse last spring.