The Kanji Kentei (Japanese kanji test) parent organisation in Tokyo, in conjunction with Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, has announced the results of an open public poll for the one kanji that best represents the year.
90,816 people voted by internet, postcard and by attending the temple in person, and the top kanji chosen by them was å½, nise, gi, meaning imitation, deception, or bogus. This year has been full of such stories; it started off with fake health benefits from natto, and continued with one scandal after another, from construction companies faking earthquake resistance to beef-free beef croquettes. This leads us to the number two choice, é£Ÿ, shoku, food, where in addition to the ironically-named Meat Hope beef mentioned before, trusted souvenir brands Akafuku and Shiroi Koibito amongst others got caught reusing ingredients that had passed their expiry dates. To round out the bad news, third was å˜˜, uso, lies, which claimed the life of one politician this year.
These pessimistic characters are a marked contrast from the last two years; 2006 was å‘½, inochi, life, and 2005 was æ„›, ai, love.