Sunday, December 14, 2014

2014 Kanji of the Year: 税 (tax)

Photo and text from Japan Today, 12/12/14.

The kanji character “zei” (税) meaning “tax,” has been chosen as the character best representing the sentiment and events in Japan in 2014.

The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, a Kyoto-based organization that promotes kanji, conducts the survey nationwide every year. The foundation said 167,613 submissions were received this year, with “zei” being the most popular, garnering 8,679 votes.

In an event held on Friday, Seihan Mori, the head priest at the world-famous Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, drew the character with a large calligraphy brush, whose bristles were the size of a bowling pin, on a huge piece of “washi” (Japanese paper).

The character of “zei” was chosen following months of coverage by the media about the hike in the sales tax last April 1 and the debate over when to increase the sales tax again.

The second most popular character was 熱, meaning fever, a reference to the sporting passion that gripped Japan this year with the Sochi Olympics, World Cup soccer and Kei Nishikori’s success on the tennis court. Fever also referred to the Ebola outbreak. The third most popular kanji was 嘘, meaning lie, referring to many political scandals and the claims of a stem cell researcher.


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