Weekly Update 12/17

Dear Members and Friends of JASH,

Seihan Mori, the head priest at Kiyomizu Buddhist temple in Kyoto, draws the character 密 on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.

Photo credit: KYODO

Since 1995, the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation holds an annual year-end event selecting a kanji that best represents the events of that year. The 2020 kanji of the year was announced earlier this week, winning with 28,401 of 208,025 (13.65%) of votes from the Foundation’s nationwide survey.

The winning kanji mitsu, on its own meaning “close” or “dense,” was used repeatedly throughout 2020 in calls to avoid crowded settings and contain the spread of COVID-19. A related phrase 3 密 san mitsu “3C’s” (confined spaces (密閉), crowds (密集), and close-contact settings (密接)) was also selected earlier in December as Japan’s buzzword of the year.

According to the Foundation, 密 mitsu best encapsulates the social mood in Japan through 2020, and in explaining their selection they noted that, “Many people had to always keep in mind mitsu in carrying on with our everyday lives.”

What word or kanji best describes your 2020?


Upcoming Program