16 December 2011
Kanji of Year 2011 - Kizuna
This year's kanji of the year is 絆 (kizuna), which means "bond", as in link / connection between people.
Image from Business Recorder
Kanji of the year is chosen annually by the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Society.
Image from BBC News
This year's choice of word is quite fitting in my opinion. There has been a great earthquake an tsunami that has drastically affected the nation in March, and people stand up for each other in spite of the natural disaster. Some support by donations, while others give spiritual support by sending out words of good will and drawings to keep up the morale. It impresses me to see how people remain to be very organised and seeing infrastructure getting repaired and rebuilt in just months. The kanjis 震 (shin, i.e. quake) and 災 (sai, i.e. disaster) have already been listed in 1995 and 2004 respectively, and it's nice that people have responded to the bad stuff with positive attitude this year.
On a side note, the character of the year in Chinese is 控, which means control. In a contrast the same character in Japanese means "to restrict" or "to withdraw".
And what does 絆 mean in Chinese? Funny enough it is actually "to stumble" or "to trip (on something)". Quite a difference isn't it? ^^;