The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation’s survey for 2013 shows that the kanji character “rin” (輪) which means “circle” or “ring” is the word that best describes this year for Japan. It was the most popular among the 172,000 submissions, getting 9,518 votes from the respondents.
In a nationally televised event on Thursday, the character was drawn with a calligraphy brush by the head priest of the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. It can be read as either “rin” or “wa”, depending on the context in which it is used. The character is a reflection of several important things that happened in Japan this year. First, it represents Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics. The world’s biggest sporting event is usually represented by five rings. Other events that contributed to the selection of the character of the year is Mount Fuji’s successful registration as a World Heritage site and Japan’s fifth consecutive entry into football’s World Cup finals stage. According to the foundation, these events were some of the occasions that “all of the people throughout Japan came together in a circle of great joy.”
The second place went to the character for “raku”, 楽, which means “comfort” or “ease.” It is also the first kanji character in the name of the Rakuten Eagles, the winners of the Japan Series in baseball. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the character he nominated was “yume,” which means dream.
[ via Rocket News 24 ]