December 26, 2006

Japan's Word of the Year: 命 (life)

Every year in Japan a word (more specifically a kanji or Chinese character) is selected to sum up the year. This year, the word is 命 which means life, in the spiritual, not the biological sense. The reasons listed were several.
  • A male heir to the imperial throne was born. Things were gettin so desperate that there was talk of changing the law to allow an empress.
  • Suicides by victims of bullying were evidently even higher than usual among children this year.
  • Drunk driving took more lives than ever this year.
  • Life became more precious and tenuous after North Korea tested an atomic bomb.
A word to sum up the year for me personally is 変 (change). My job changed, my children both started school, my wife began working outside the home, and we found out that we have another baby on the way.

How about you? What's your word for 2006? Let me know in the comments.

Word of the year and 20 runners-up.

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