In a disaster-ridden year that brought a nation closer together, the Chinese character "kizuna" (bonds between people) has been selected as the kanji that best reflects the events of 2011, the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation announced Dec. 12.
The kizuna kanji was written on a giant piece of Japanese paper using Japanese ink on the same day by Seihan Mori, the chief priest of Kiyomizudera temple, a World Heritage site, in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward.
The foundation, based in Kyoto’s Shimogyo Ward, selects one kanji that best denotes the year, based on suggestions from the public.
Following “kizuna,” “wazawai" (disaster) ranked second and “shin" (tremor) came in third, reflecting the natural disaster-ridden year that saw the Great East Japan Earthquake and typhoon and accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The annual tradition started in 1995 following the Great Hanshin Earthquake, with shin selected as the kanji that year. Kizuna is the 17th Chinese character to receive the designation.
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