Kyoto Shimbun 2009.12.11 News

"Shin" Selected as Kanji of the Year
New Administration, Record-Breaking Ichiro Suzuki...

The kanji character for "shin," or new, was selected as a character best representing this year in the annual Kanji contest, and was announced by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, on December 11 at Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The selection reflects on public interest and expectations: the Democratic Party of Japan's new administration launch, the H1N1 swine flu outbreak, and Ichiro Suzuki's achievement of 200 hits for 9 straight seasons in Major League Baseball.

This year, a record number of approximately 160,000 people responded in the annual contest for the Kanji of the Year held by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation. There were a total of 14,093 entries for "shin."

In second place was "kusuri," or medicine, which noted the drugs tainting show business, or H1N1 swine flu vaccine supply shortage. Following this were the kanji for "sei," "byo," "kai," "hen," "min" and "hato," which mean politics, disease, reform, change, democracy and dove," showing the significant effects of the regime change.

Seihan Mori, chief priest of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, wrote the single character for "shin" largely and vividly. This year, the organizer itself, the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, was also required to reform due to the former executive vice-president's malpractice charge. Akio Kioi, the head of the foundation said, "After reflecting deeply on the errors in our history and returning to our original mission as a public-interest corporation, we would like to ensure the further development of Chinese character culture."

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= "Shin," selected as the Kanji of the Year, incorporating the meaning of a new political administration and new sports record (December 11, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto)