For the first time in its 29-year history, Japan’s buzzword-of-the-year judges failed to agree on a single word or phrase as a winner. Instead, they chose four terms that made their way to the Japanese zeitgeist in 2013, with three of the expressions coming from television, an industry that enjoyed record viewership this year.
“O-mo-te-na-shi,” the word for Japanese-style selfless hospitality, but pronounced in a monosyllabic fashion, was one of the four buzzwords chosen. The pronunciation style of the word became hugely popular after newscaster and member of the Tokyo 2020 bid team Christel Takigawa put an accent on the word during her speech in Japan’s final bid presentation for the 2020 Olympics, using her left hand for emphasis and then putting her hands together and bowing. She repeated her “performance” during the ceremony for buzzword-of-the-year on Monday. The other three words chosen were “Baigaeshi” (Double the revenge/payback) the catchphrase of banker Hanzawa Naoki in the hit show with the same name, “Jejeje,” an expression of surprise in northeastern Japan made popular through the NHK morning drama Ama-chan, and “Ima desho!” (Now, right?!), TV personality Osamu Hayashi’s expression in a Toyota TV commercial.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics,” a term coined for his economic policies, started out strong as a buzzword but then fizzled out in popularity, much like the actual policies of this administration. It still made the Top 10 though, together with Kumamoto Prefecture’s mascot bear Kumamon, “PM2.5“, the particulate in air pollutants that originated from China, and “hate speech,” referring to the discrimination by anti-Korean protestors against an ethnic community in Tokyo.
[via Wall Street Journal]