安：2015 “Kanji of the Year” Announced at Kiyomizu-dera
First held in 1995 at Kiyomizu-dera, this annual event is the official announcement of the Kanji of the Year. Though normally held on December 12 which is the “Kanji Day”, owing to how the holidays fell this year the announcement was moved to December 15 in consideration of visiting tourists. Up on the stage at Kiyomizu Temple, the kanji they wrote on a massive piece of Japanese paper was… Photo
The kanji for 2015 is 安, used in a variety of words with meanings like “peaceful,” “inexpensive,” and “safe.” Let’s look at some of the ways the kanji 安 shaped 2015:
– the formation of new security (安全保障, anzenhoshō) legislation by the Abe (安部) government
– a weak yen (円安, enyasu)
– hopes for the return of peace (安らぎ) and security (安心) in the face of terrorism
– there was also comedian Tonikaku Akarui Yasumura (とにかく明るい安村)’s “Buzzword of the Year”-nominated catchphrase, “Don’t worry, I’m wearing” (「安心して下さい。穿いてますよ」)
There is no denying that 安 represents on a grand scale the feelings of the Japanese people in 2015: anxiety (不安) for the state of the world together with hopes for a safe (安全) and secure (安心) future globally.
Interestingly enough, first runner-up this year was 爆 (“explosion”), which can be found in the Buzzword of the Year winner 爆買い (“shopping spree”), and second runner-up was 戦 (“war, conflict”), nominated in light of 2015 being the 70th anniversary of the start of the Post-War (戦後) era.
History of Kanji of the Year