And the 2013 Kanji of the Year is…


Well, that was anti-climactic. Especially given all the build-up of the annual “Kanji of the Year” selection, as the kanji word is gradually drawn out on a huge canvas by a venerated monk on live television, as though the monk is challenging you to an enormous game of Pictionary.

We can only imagine the disappointment rippling through the crowd as thousands guessed, “‘Harmony’! It’s got to be ‘harmony’! No, wait! It’s definitely ‘patience’! It’s… ‘Ring’?”


The annual event, which is relatively new at just 19 years old, names the ostensibly “most used” word of the year based primarily on top media coverage and a survey. “Ring” was listed as top choice by 5.59% of survey respondents, and, according to Asahi Shinbun, represents Japanese citizens “becoming a ring” to cheer on Japan’s achievements this year, which included Mt. Fuji being elected a world heritage site, Japan just barely squeezing into the 2014 FIFA World Cup roster, and Tokyo being chosen as host city of the 2020 Olympic games.

Fingers crossed Japan does well in the 2020 games, lest the 2020 kanji of the year be, “Disappointment.”

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