That’s right they even have a Kanji (Chinese Character) of the year in Japan. So, this year is no exception with the ‘北’ (きた or Kita – meaning North) character being elected as the most suitable for 2017. You can also check our Japanese Guide for Directions, for a list of similar Kanji characters and more.
The motivation comes from the looming threat of North Korea (aka 北朝鮮 or Kitachousen). In 2017, they continued to antagonise the Japanese community with their constant missile tests, threats and their unrelenting pursuit of nuclear arms.
In its most recent round of missile tests, North Korea has launched several into the sea of Japan. This includes two over the northern Japanese continent. In addition to its ongoing nuclear threat, it is also trying to develop and miniaturise a warhead. They hope to make it small enough to be carried by their short, medium and long-range weapons arsenal.
Last year in 2016, Japan declared that its Kanji of the year was ‘金’ (きん or Kin – meaning gold). This was in celebration of the 12 gold medals it had earned from the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games. Japan and Tokyo will no doubt have higher aspirations for their medal tally in the next Olympics. Especially as it is the host city for the next games in 2020.
You may also be interested in some of the 2017 Japanese buzzwords that made the cut.