Kanji of the Year (今年の漢字)

Kanji of the Year is a Chinese character representing the social conditions in Japan or World of the year which is announced once a year by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation on the "Kanji's day", December 12.


On December 12th of each year, the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation calls upon people across the country to submit a Chinese character that symbolizes the year throughout Japan and announces the Chinese character with the most submissions as the Kanji representing the social conditions of the year at the Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture on the "Kanji's day." The chosen Chinese Chinese character is called the "Kanji of the Year". The mass media also uses the title the "Kanji of the Year".

The "Kanji of the Year" began in 1995. At the time of the announcement, the Chinese character is brushed on a large sheet of Japanese writing pater by the chief priest of Kiyomizu-dera Temple upon the Oku no in (inner sanctuary) stage. Then, the calligraphy is dedicated to the Senju Kannon (Thousand Armed Avalokiteshwara), honzon (the principal image) of the temple. It is often accepted as an indicator representing the social conditions of present day Japan together with the Salaryman Senryu (the salary man senryu poetry contest) hosted by the Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company, the Sosaku Yojijukugo (Creation of a four-character compound) announced by Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, the Shingo ryukogo taisho (the grand prize for the new word of the year, and the grand prize for the best vogue word of the year) presented by Jiyu Kokuminsha, and the Gendai gakusei hyakunin isshu (One hundred poems of modern students) collected by Toyo University.

[Original Japanese]