Bakugai: 2015 Japan Buzzword of the Year Award Has Been Decided
On 12/1 the winners of the “2015 U-Can Shingo & Ryukogo Taisho (New Word & Buzzword Awards)” were announced, where two words were chosen over a selection of nominations. The winning words were “bakugai” and “triple-three.” In this article we will especially be focusing on the “bakugai” word. Photo
*Triple-Three: When a single player achieves a 30% batting average, 30 home runs, and 30 steals. Two players, Yanagita (Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks) and Yamada (Tokyo Yakult Swallows), completed this challenge and wowed the Japanese professional baseball world. The last time two players achieved the triple-three in the same season was 65 years ago.
What is “Bakugai”?
Since Akihabara in Tokyo became worldly famous starting with the anime and manga industry, Japan’s classic tourist destinations, such as Kyoto and Mount Fuji, have had a quick growth in the number of foreign visitors. This number has seen rapid growth in the last 2-3 years, partially because of the weaker yen. What is unique about 2015 was the foreign visitors who explored traditional locations and cultures/events unrecognized as “Japan-like” to the Japanese people. This acted as a reminder, and created an opportunity for the native Japanese to rediscover the wonders of Japan.
Another happy side effect was how Japanese products became globally known as high quality, and because of this many foreign tourists would purchase a large sum of souvenirs to take back home. It has come to the point where many visitors travel to Japan to shop, rather than tour. The spending by the Chinese visitors are particularly high, and it is not unusual for a single person to spend about 100,000-200,000 yen during their trip. This is what the winning word of the 2015 New Words & Buzzwords Award, bakugai, means. The shopping situation is shown on the television daily, where they report how Japan-made products, such as cosmetics, digital household electronics (PCs, PC products, rice cookers, etc.,) candy, and other convenience items, were especially popular this year.
In recent years Japan’s modernization process has rapidly advanced, and there was a long period where the younger generation lacked interest in their Japanese traditions. However, in the last 1-2 years I strongly feel there has been a shift, where even this younger generation has rediscovered and shown increased interest in such traditions. Without a doubt, I feel this change in attitude can largely be credited to the influence of the foreign visitors, who demonstrate enthusiasm toward Japan.
Top 10 Buzzwords: http://singo.jiyu.co.jp/
Buzzword Nomination List: http://singo.jiyu.co.jp/nominate/nominate2015.html