The Kanji of the year 2018 is「災」(sai) meaning disaster or curse. This character reflects many of the events and adversity that Japan has faced in the past year.
This year was hit by many natural disasters. For example, this year’s Summer was full of extremely hot days, well above the national average. The heatwave caused many deaths throughout the country.
Earthquakes hit regions in both Osaka and Sapporo. Although there was minimal damage it was still a wakeup call to remind us of the devastation they can bring.
One major typhoon came screaming through Japan too. It caused a lot of damage in its path of destruction, including landfalls, property damage and flash flooding.
Additionally, there was no shortage of scandals in the business and political world too. There was a number of incidents that involved stolen Cryptocurrency, highlighting the risks that still surround the financial asset.
Moreover, we saw a number of large corporations involved in deception from the likes of Mitsubishi and Nissan. There was also political misconduct in the alteration of land sale documents.
In fact, the sports world too had its fair share of controversy with a number of episodes of power harassment.
All in all, it would be fair to say Japan has endured a tough and challenging year.
The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, based in Kyoto, has conducted the survey each and every year since 1995. You can read about 2017’s Kanji of the year too.
This year they reported the received almost 200,000 submissions, online and by post. In this year’s results,「災」(sai) was a clear winner, collecting more than 10% of the total votes. In second place was「平」(hei) meaning peace, which only attracted around 8% in comparison.
You may also be interested in reading about 2018’s final 10 Japanese buzzwords.