令 or Rei s the Kanji Character which is the official symbol for 2019, signifying it’s origins to the beginning of the Reiwa Or ‘令和’ Era. This new era coincided with the enthronement of the new emperor also.
Check out our post on the top ten Japanese Buzzwords of 2019 too.
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冷 or Rei is a term that usually means order. Yet, as per this year’s explanation in some rare occasions, it also has a relation to beauty. The full term ‘冷和’ or Reiwa means beautiful harmony, especially when taken from ancient poetry.
The ancient text “Manyoshu” (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), Japan’s oldest known poetry anthology was the source material. It dates way back to the Nara Period (710-794). This time is also the first Era to source its name from a Japanese classical writing piece.
From many voters’ standpoint, the reference to classic literature is a wonderful thing. Additionally, it provides anyone with an opportunity to go back and rediscover the meaning of these ancient works.
Furthermore, many see the reference to 冷 or Rei as a sign of the times. Literally, its connection to law and compliance terms come in line with some of the political and corporate scandals. The entertainment industry also had its fair share of negative publicity. Consumption Tax changes were also a headline from the same year.
冷 or Rei also has a reference to evacuation, and in light of the number of massive typhoons, it was a year of disasters. There were also a lot of evacuations that happened across the country, as a result of the catastrophes.
Final Thoughts on Rei
What about Rei’s hidden link Star Wars, the newly introduced character Rey from episode 7. This year was also the host of the hotly anticipated series finale, with Rey playing a pivotal role to wrap it all up. So, you could be forgiven for thinking there was some connection, but alas, there wasn’t …
Anyway, as the new era comes to a close it will interesting to see what the new year 2020 brings especially in the light of the Olympics.
You may also be interested in the previous year, 2018’s Kanji of the year.
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