While the residents of the Korean peninsula are readying themselves to vote for something as mundane as President, those Japanese have really been taking democracy to new levels. As if there were any question as to who will be walking away with the keys to the Blue[-tiled] House
after the presidential elections next week...
Beginning in 1995, and faithfully every year since then, the Japanese people have voted on which kanji
best represents that year. Well, not all
of the Japanese population voted, to be sure, but the most influential 90,816 residents cast their votes, and the results are in. The Sanchon Hunjang is pleased to announce that the 한자 for the 丁亥年 (that's 2007 for anyone who didn't memorize her sexigenary cycle and forgot all of the hubbub about 황금돼지의 해
at the beginning of the year) is:
Yep, it's 거짓 위 僞
That's as announced on December 12th
by the Kanji Kentei
, a 한자 training and testing company, at the scenic Kiyomizu Temple
in the eastern part of lovely Kyoto
. And as mopped onto a white canvas by this nice monk fellow.
It appears that the Japanese were more than slightly affected by the discovery of the use of expired or faked ingredients in foodstuffs by the venerable Akafuku Co.
, Hinaidori Co.
(think "한우" labeling), Fujiya Co., Mr. Doughnut, and so on. So affected were they, in fact, that the first and second runners up to 한자 of the year--먹을 식 食
and 불 허 噓
(also means "lie"), respectively--also are related to the food scandals.
This stands in sharp contrast to the character selected by Japan's Prime Minister, Fukuda Yasuo
. He picked 믿을 신 信
. Although he had his reasons (mainly that he was thinking along lines of issues between political parties and how they needed more trust of each other), it'd be kinda hard to be more out of touch with the man in the street than this, no?
The past 한자 of the year have been:
In the interest of completeness, the Sanchon Hunjang feels compelled to mention that Korea is not entirely lacking in vote-based 한자-related popularity contests. Its just that the Korean version is hosted by the Professor News
and it collects votes only from teachers in institutions of higher learning. Not exactly 한자 selection by the people and for the people. But to their credit, they select a 4-word 한문 idiom
, not just a lone dangling character.
It appears they are still tallying the votes, or interpreting the will of the voters or whatever it is that they do, for 2007. The 한자성어 winners over the past few years have been: