2012 Kanji of the Year

12 Dec

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.

The character 「金」 for "gold".

The character 「金」 for “gold”.

Writing the Kanji of the Year for 2012 in the official ceremony.

Writing the Kanji of the Year for 2012 in the official ceremony.

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8 Responses to “2012 Kanji of the Year”

  1. Al December 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Seems like it should have been 銅 since Japan won more than twice as many bronze medals as gold.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      But that’s not as “positive” as “gold” is. ;)

      Like

  2. omawarisan December 13, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    The photo of the writing of the kanji of the year makes me wonder if that is how it is revealed. Do people know before the ceremony what the word is, or do they find out as it is written?

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 13, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      The Kanji of the Year is revealed at the ceremony in Kyoto.
      Almost no one knows what the character is until the monk writes it.

      Like

  3. Musings December 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Oh fun! I’ll have to tell my mom and see if she already knows.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      Yes.
      But, you’ve told me that she likes to keep up with Japanese news…so she probably already knows.

      Like

  4. rsmithing December 22, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    So we’re in our golden years? Man, time flies. Had no idea there was a Kanji of the Year. Cool post.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 22, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks.
      Yeah, every December a character is chosen that represents the passing year.

      Like

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