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Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Kanji Of The Year

Every year, the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation - a kanji promotion group gets together and reveals at Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally "Pure Water Temple") in Kyoto, Japan what voters have felt deserves to be the ktoshi no kanji (今年の漢字), literally 'kanji of the year'.

For 2015, on December 15, the kanji that was deemed to best represent the world of Japan is: An (安) which means safety or peaceful.

In the photo above, Mori Seihan (surname first), the chief priest of the Kiyomizu-dera writes the kanji alphabet via shodo, the traditional Japanese form of calligraphy, using a giant calligraphy brush on a sheet of washi (Japanese paper) 1.5 meters (59") high and 1.3 meters (51.2") wide.

When I write MY name in kanji... I use An-doh-ryu, which translates to peaceful-leader-dragon... eschewing the standard 'do', which means earth or ground.

When I was in Japan, the Japanese loved that I used that kanji. I also used an older, more complex kanji for dragon because I was showing off that I could write it. I even had a large hanko (stamping block) made for signing my signature. An old blog of mine from July of 2009 can be seen HERE.

So... this year's 2015 kanji was chosen to counter what King ... er, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) has been acting like... as he tries to allow Japan to have more than a Self-Defense Force... to create an Army, if you will, that was eliminated after WWII as part of Japan's punishment for its part in the war against Asia and the rest of the Allied forces.
Prime Minister Abe holding up a truer version of 'An' and less calligraphy-like.
Voters also thought along a global point if view, as terrorism as in France were dominating news forums.

Of the 129,647 entries received, 'An' garnered 5,632.

The second-place-getter was the kanji "baku (explosive)" with "sen (war)" coming in third.

This was the 21st annual poll since the event began in 1995.

In 2014, "zei (tax)" won because the Japanese thought they were facing heavier financial burdens... but I kindda ripped that concept - see HERE.

A full list of the kanji chosen since 1995 can be found HERE.

Andrew Joseph

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