Kanji of the Year 2022
Every year, Japan votes on what kanji should represent the past year. The one that receives the most votes is then named the kanji of the year. Let's take a look at what kanji Japan chose in past years and what may have influenced those choices.
2001 戦: War: The 9/11 terrorist attacks occur in the U.S.
2002 帰: Return: Five victims of North Korean abductions return to Japan and the economy recedes to the level it was before the bubble economy burst.
2003 虎: Tiger: The Hanshin Tigers win the championship for the first time in 18 years
2004 災: Disaster: The Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake and the first eruption of Mount Asama in 21 years occurred.
2005 愛: Love: In the Aichi prefecture, the Aichi Expo occurred and Princess Norinomiya got married.
2006 命: Life: Prince Hisahito was born and many elementary and junior high students die by sucide as a result of bullying.
2007 偽: Fake in various fields such as food, politics, politics, and sports, we discovered falsehoods.
2008 変: Change: Japan elected a new Prime Minister as the U.S elected a new president.
2009 新: New: The Democratic Party of Japan forms and leads a new government as Barrack Obama becomes the new president of the United States.
2010 暑: Heat: Japan experiences the hottest summer ever recorded in Japan's history
2011 絆: Bonds: The people of Japan unite after the Great East Japan earthquake in addition to other large-scale disasters like torrential rains in Niigata and Fukushima.
2012 金: Gold: Japan wins a record number of medals at the London Olympics.
2013 輪: Circle: The circle of people unite and successfully bid to host the summer olympics in Tokyo as the country recovers from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
2014 税: Tax: The consumption tax rate in Japan increases for the first time in 17 years.
2015 安: Safe: The conflict between the ruling and opposing parties over a national security bill causes anxiety among the National Diet of Japan.
2016 金: Gold: Japan wins many gold medals at the Rio Olympics.
2017 北: North: North Korea launches ballistic missiles, which forces the need to run nuclear tests.
2018 災: Disaster: Natural disasters like the torrential rains in western Japan, the Hokkaido Iburi East Earthquake, and the northern Osaka Prefecture earthquake occur.
2019 令: Beautiful: Starting May 2019, Japan adopts a new era name: "令和(reiwa).
2020 密: Density: The Covid-19 pandemic occurs and inspires the saying, "confined and enclosed spaces. Crowded places, in close proximity" to encourag people to distance themselves to prevent getting sick.
2021 金: Gold: Japan wins numerous gold medals at the Olympics.
This year, Japan chose "Sen" (戦), meaning "war" or "battle" to symbolize 2022. This is partly meant to draw attention to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the battles taking place in various places in Ukrainia. It also symbolizes the World Cup, the fight against inflation, and the still ongoing fight against Covid-19. The last time Japan chose this kanji was in 2001, which was the year the terrorist attacks took place in the United States.
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