Quaran, the official quarantine mascot of Japan

Quaran, the official quarantine mascot of Japan

written by: SaiKaiAngel | Source: TimeOut Tokyo

Meet Quaran, the official Japanese quarantine mascot! That's right, once again Japan has decided to give us an important message while maintaining a smile.

The whole world is going through a very difficult time, fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic. Right now, wherever companies, museums, schools, and even entire cities are closing, pushing people to take action with smart-working. All this will last until the end of this emergency.

Quaran

And here comes Quaran, a mascot created by the Japanese Ministry of Health to make people understand the importance of staying at home and also remembering the safety distances. It is described as a small fairy with a Q on the forehead, a shield, and protective glasses. Take a look also at his back: with the Q shaped tail, the Q of Quaran, the Q of Quarantine. The description, as we said, speaks of a small fairy that reminds us how to avoid the virus by respecting the distances and avoid gatherings. However, when we meet it, we discover it's actually a life-size mascot! Where can this puppet be found most? At airports in Japan, but it is said to travel around the world to prevent illegal attitudes that could spread the Covid-19 virus, even more, protect us with its shield and common sense.

Quaran

Quaran was also created to promote the work of the Quarantine Information Office, under the control of the Ministry of Health.

Not just this! Quaran even has it's own website, it deserves one very careful look. Stay safe, world! Quaran will help us live everything with responsibility, common sense, prevention, but always with a smile. A smile, we must never lose during this fight.

Source: TimeOut Tokyo | Photo credits: forth.go.jp


Japan Italy Bridge interviews: Shito Hisayo, AAPPARÉ designer

Japan Italy Bridge interviews: Shito Hisayo, AAPPARÉ designer

Written by: Erika Swan, Yoshi | Translated by: Yoshi

Our special feature series, "Japan Italy Bridge Interviews" is back with an interview with designer Shito Hisayo who will be talking about the concept behind her brand AAPPARÉ!

To start, what is AAPPARÉ?

Answering that, AAPPARÉ is a brand line that was designed and conceived from the notion, “I want to bring the national dress of Japan, Kimono, into global fashion.”
Introduced as “Japan Kimono”, this new fashion can be casually worn as it utilises the elegance and formative beauty embodied in Kimono to pair clothes, which look like Western wear that retained the silhouette of a traditional Kimono’s neckline and sleeves, with sash belts, straw sandals, and boots.
The fabric used is woven in Shizuoka Prefecture’s Hamamatsu City and sewn in Japan, and even the knitwear uses materials produced in Niigata Prefecture’s Mitsuke City, making sure that the garments are truly and genuinely made in Japan.
In addition, “Hyottoko” and “Okame”, the symbols of “a good man and woman of traditional Japan”, are attached on the garments as brand logos.

AAPPARÉ

―― Firstly, please introduce yourself.

I am Shito Hisayo and I am a designer. I own 8 brands where I sell, make, and create head-to-toe outfits of western wear, kimono, and accessories that I design.

―― What led you to start this business?

It was my love for fashion. Especially when it comes to kimono.

―― What do you pay particular attention to in running this business?

That there is “only one” (of each item).

AAPPARÉ Shito Hisayo

―― What does it mean for you as a woman to run the business in Japan?

In the male-dominated kimono industry, I believe that I can bring something new into it because I design with the perspective, ideas, and sensitivities of a woman.

―― How do you think the global market perceives AAPPARÉ?

(I believe that AAPPARÉ) is being seen as an evolution of kimono. It is modern and easy to wear; it is fashion that can be as easily appreciated as western wear.

―― Do you think that growing a global presence is difficult?

I don’t think that it is difficult. I believe that AAPPARÉ matches the modern lifestyle scene as it possesses both the elegant designs of kimono and the functionality of western wear.

Shito Hisayo Shito Hisayo

―― What do you personally think is the thing that attracts Westerners to Japan?

I believe that it is the charm of the Japanese people; their diligence and subtlety.

―― On the other hand, what do you think of Italy?

I feel that the Italian sense is similar to my works. I feel that we share parallels in terms of using slightly deviant designs and colour shades, like smokey gold, silver, and bronze.

―― What are the similarities between Italy and Japan?

The fact that we are both well-attuned to what is stylish and that we enjoy fashion from the bottom of our hearts.

―― How do you see the future of the relationship between Japan and Italy?

I believe that there are wonderful discoveries to be made through the combination of Italy’s superb leather processing technology and Japan’s unique colours and designs.

Shito Hisayo Shito Hisayo

―― Going back to 『AAPPARÉ』, what are your future plans and goals?

I want to open a shop in the airport where people from all around the world converge. I also want to open shops in countries all over the world. At the same time, I think it’ll be interesting if (the brand) could (supply) uniforms for restaurants or casinos.

―― Lastly, please leave a comment for our readers.

As a Japanese person who loves Japan, my hope is that I can elevate Japanese kimono fashion into the global fashion industry.
Filled with those thoughts, “AAPPARÉ” was created.
Thank you for your present and future support.
Shito Hisayo

And that was our intimate interview with Shito Hisayo! Having read it, how do you feel? What do you think? Do share your comments with us on our Facebook page!
To find out more about Shito Hisayo and her brand, do check out the official links below!

– Links –

Website: https://shito-hisayo.jp/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shito1027hisayo/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shitohisayo_official/


2020 Best Japanese Shows on Netflix

We can’t really deny the fact that Netflix is one of the biggest revolutionary inventions of the latest years, so here are some of the best shows available on the platform.

In the last weeks, the world has changed, and these days when we are forced to stay home, our very intimate relationship with Netflix has become even closer. In fact, this is the moment when you can take advantage of all the new Japanese shows on the streaming website. Whether you are a fan of tv series or not, you can enjoy these shows and also practice your Japanese skills.

Terrace House

2020 Best Japanese Shows on Netflix

photo credits: netflix.com

Terrace House (テラスハウス) is a reality show franchise in Japan. The first series of the show was also known as “Boys×Girls Next Door”. It aired on Fuji Television's Cool TV from October 12, 2012 to September 29, 2014 for eight seasons. After the huge success, an independent film was released as a continuation/conclusion of the series.
On September 2015, Netflix previewed Boys & Girls in the City as one of its Original Series. The new show is a co-production of Netflix and Fuji, also broadcast on Fuji Television in Japan switching also its location to a hidden area in central in Tokyo.

One of the most well known Japanese show of the platform, Terrace House has its obvious draws. We are all intrigued by the inevitable romances that blossom on the show, but it’s also interesting to see how the people in the show work to accomplish their personal goals. Of course, together with this, there are also the occasional hiccups among the housemates, which are always fun to see.

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: mymovies.it

Do not watch while you are hungry. “Midnight Diner” features a man who is known as “Master” and runs a small restaurant from midnight to 7 am. The place welcomes a mixed clientele every night who share their fascinating personal stories while eating mouth-watering home-style dishes. During these hours, the Master becomes a confidant for everyone.
As you join these lone diners at the table while they connect with each other, you’ll find yourself connecting with them too and discovering a new reality of the Tokyo By Night.

As we said, do not watch this if you are hungry or you will start craving whatever Master is dishing up that night, even if we can’t guarantee that won’t happen anyway.

The Naked Director

Netflix Netflix

photo credits: mubi.com, justwatch.com

This is the show everybody is talking about. Inspired by the life of director Toru Muranishi, the show is a provocative narrative of his eccentric and bizarre adult film career. During the apex of the economic boom in the ‘80s, Toru Muranishi, an unsuccessful salesman, tries his luck in the porn industry in Japan. Despite the lack of experience, Muranishi quickly learns the potential of VHS and builds an empire for himself, revolutionising the Japanese porn industry.

The Comedy-drama series was only released in August, however, Netflix has already confirmed the renewal of the show for a second season.

Samurai Gourmet

Best Japanese Shows Netflix Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: esquire.com, eater.com

After a year of being a salaryman, Takeshi Kasumi struggles to find a new routine for himself. While his wife carries on with her usual daily activities, Kasumi goes out looking for a bite to eat. While around he discovers his inner samurai who encourages him to live each day to the fullest. Living also each meal to the fullest will help him, and us, enjoy the food the way it’s meant to be.
Samurai Gourmet is a series that not only will help you rediscover the beauty of each meal but also take you to the streets letting you explore yourself and a new city.

Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!

Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: netflix.com, wonderlandmagazine.com

A reality rebooted in 2018 and ready to release its 5th season. The show had overwhelming success and caught the attention of a man with its inspiring message of self-worth.
Five experts take on Japan for the first time and help some locals to rediscover themselves by sharing their flair and skills. With Naomi Watanabe and Kiko Mizuhara the group set out to transform lives together. This long-awaited mini-series filmed in Japan is and highlights some of the most exciting cultural aspects together with some emotional moments.

Atelier

photo credits: netflix.com

If you liked “The Devil Wears Prada” this is the show for you. Wide-eyed newcomer Mayuko Tokiya starts working for a lingerie design house in Ginza, the Tokyo fashion district. Even if she’s at her first job, Mayuko is determined to find her feet under the scrutiny of the company and its founder, sort of a Japanese Anna Wintour.
This one-season long series will take you on an eventful journey where Mayuko paves her way in a fast-moving fashion house and city.

Million Yen Women

photo credits: wikipedia.org

Adapted from the homonymous manga by Shunju Aono, five women appear at the house of a struggling novelist, Shin Michima. By paying him a monthly sum of a million yen, they ask for rent and living expenses in exchange. However, Michima doesn’t know why these women are here and they won’t let him ask any questions. While this could seem like a story from a manga for young men, each woman has actually her own personality. Their refusal of giving out any information creates an interesting dynamic that will amaze you and make you watch all the episodes in one go.

Switched

photo credits: techprincess.it, decider.com

When in high-school, have you ever dreamed of switching places with the most popular girl in your school? This drama series tells the story of a depressed student Zenko Umine who commits suicide while a fellow student Ayumi sees her falling from the rooftop. After passing out, Ayumi wakes up and finds herself in Umine’s body, while Umine is in Ayumi’s. With many twists and turns, we get a closer look at how the high-school students are under pressure from today’s society.

Good Morning Call

Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: netflix.com, geekinsider.com

Among the most successful shows on Netflix, the two-season romantic comedy-drama series is a live-action television adaptation of the homonymous manga by Yue Takasuka. Co-produced by Fuji TV and Netflix, the story is set in Tokyo and follows the relationship between teenager Nao Yoshikawa and Hisashi Uehara. When moving to her new 2 bedroom apartment, Nao discovers that the coolest and most popular guy in school is also moving in. Realizing they have been scammed into renting the same apartment, they agree to become roommates in secret so to be able to make the rental payment. While following their adventures, you’ll find yourselves rooting for this couple and being amazed by how much relationships can be difficult at any age.

Followers

Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: tvserial.it, everyeye.it

Premiered on Netflix on February 27 2020, the series revolves around the city of blinding lights, Tokyo. With its life, colours, fashion and ambition, the city is a background for the story of Limi Nara, a famous and successful fashion photographer. She advanced her career with photographs of modern Tokyo, capturing the changes in the city and the people that live in it. Leading a confident and independent life both privately and professionally, she’s in contrast with the young struggling actress Natsume Hyakuta. Having problems in both her professional and personal life, Hyakuta is in search of self-confidence and her own identity. All of this changes when one day Limi publishes a photograph of Natsume on Instagram. From this moment on, the life of the young actress and the ones around her changes completely while these two women try to find their own way to happiness and love.

Ajin

Best Japanese Shows Netflix

photo credits: netflix.com,pinterest.it

Kei Nagai, a student who discovers he’s an Ajin, a demi-human when he’s fatally wounded in a traffic accident. In this world, a small number of humans possesses extreme regenerative abilities that are triggered upon death or mortal injuries. This allows them to completely recover from their wounds in a matter of seconds, even the most extreme ones. Together with this, Ajin can create “black ghosts”, highly dangerous combat-oriented entities that are invisible to normal humans. These ghosts are resistant to any physical injuries, have extraordinary physical strength, razor-sharp teeth and claws. Black ghosts have their own level of intelligence and for example, most of them are completely reliant on their Ajin for directions, others are more independent.

Obviously, Ajin are considered dangerous and inhuman by the people and most are captured by governments. The nations came to protect Ajin but in reality, they use them as subjects for cruel experiments to exploit their healing abilities. As a result to this, two factions are created and some Ajin escaped from the laboratories are looking for revenge. Tune in to this sci-fi anime series and discover how the story unfolds.

These are just some of our favourite shows currently available on Netflix. Join the conversation on our Facebook page and tell us which one is your favourite!


Bringing Japan to Italy: episode 10 - Hoshitaro Asada

Our feature 『Bringing Japan to Italy』 is back with episode number 10 dedicated to Hoshitaro Asada, who works at the Sogen sakagura in Ishikawa in Japan.

His mission is not only to produce one of the best sake in the world, but also to spread Japanese culture internationally. He told us about the similarities between Italy and Japan and how Italians see and live the world of sake.

 


Japan Meets Italy: Networking aperitivo - 1st edition

Here we are with a new event organized by Japan Italy Bridge, we are talking about "Japan Meets Italy: networking aperitivo".

As you well know by now, the purpose of Japan Italy Bridge is to bring together and promote Japanese companies in Italy and vice versa. Through digital marketing, the creation of websites and the management of events, we aim to help Japanese companies to promote themselves on the Italian and European territory and vice versa.

After talking to various realities in the area, we noticed a lack of chances to create new connections between the various companies. For this reason, we decided to create "Japan Meets Italy: networking aperitivo", a recurring appointment to give the Japanese companies in the area the opportunity to make themselves known, create new connections and spend pleasant time together.

On January 30, 2020, we invited 30 companies on the Italian territory to join us for an evening of sharing. The first meeting held in TENOHA Milano found great success among the participants. A moment not only of joy and light-heartedness but also a beautiful occasion where the participating companies were able to create new connections. A networking evening where Japan met Italy to strengthen this friendship that has lasted for more than 150 years and to create even stronger partnerships between the companies of the two countries.

Some of the participating companies shared updates and presentations of ongoing projects in order to generate a connection between the realities of the territory.

We want to thank all the companies and all the people that have joined us to celebrate this evening. Japan Meets Italy will return in the spring with a brand new edition and many other opportunities to meet and connect with each other.

For more information and to participate in the next edition: angela@japanitalybridge.com
Photographer: Alberto Moro

 

 


Tokyo 2020, everything you need to know about the Olympics

The new year has finally arrived and there are only a few months to go before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 Tokyo 2020

The Olympics are always a time when the whole world comes together. It is the moment when we all become experts in fencing, discus throwing and weight throwing. In the end, the whole world is like a small town, but the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are shaping up to be a breathtaking show.

All the details on Tokyo 2020

Less than a year after opening, the first official news and programs begin to come out. The opening ceremony will be held on July 24, 2020, and the closing ceremony on August 9, while the Paralympics will take place from August 25 to September 6 of the same year. You can find a complete program of all competitions on the official website.

Tokyo 2020 Olimpiadi 2020

Where the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place

For this occasion, Tokyo has prepared more than 40 places and buildings around the city. The last summer games hosted in this city date back to 1964, the first Olympics in Asia. However, the capital of the rising sun has twice hosted the winter Olympics, in 1972 and 1998.

The logo

Throughout history, the checkered pattern has become very popular in several countries and for various reasons. In Japan, this formally became known as "ichimatsu moyo" in the Edo period (1603-1867). This checkered design in the traditional Japanese colour of indigo blue expresses a refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan.

Made of three varieties of rectangular shapes, the design represents different countries, cultures and ways of thinking. It incorporates the message of "unity in diversity". It also expresses that the Olympic and Paralympic Games seek to promote diversity as a platform for connecting the world.

Olimpiadi tokyo Tokyo 2020

Where to find tickets for Tokyo 2020

At the moment, unfortunately, and as expected, the tickets are all sold out. However, a new wave of tickets will be available in the spring.

The new sports

As it often happens with every Olympiad, there are also new competing specialities for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Despite missing the London and Rio edition, Baseball and Softball officially entered the competition thanks to the strong popularity in Japan. Five nations will compete with the hosts for the gold medal on the diamond field.

Tokyo 2020 Tokyo 2020

Together with these, we can also find Karate, climbing, surfing and skateboarding. In the same wave, basketball adds three-on-three tournaments for eight nations. Rugy seven will not be less, a variant involving only 7 players per side. In addition, golf returns after its debut in Rio.

The medals

Not to be overlooked are the medals that athletes will win during these 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo. In fact, for this occasion, Tokyo has created a special project to make these Olympics a little greener. This special project, the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project, will have the task of collecting more than 80,000 tons of mobile phones and small electronic devices to be recycled throughout Japan. These will then serve to create the wonderful medals of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games.

Olimpiadi

Tokyo 2020 medaglie

The project's website said over 6 million mobile phones from a two-year-long national donation were used.

Sport and technology together for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The 2020 Summer Olympics are already shaping up to be spectacular, but the surprises don't end here. Japan is famous for being at the forefront of research and development in various technological fields. In fact, during the opening ceremony, Sky Canvas, with the help of the research company ALE, will illuminate the night sky. The two companies will launch "the ingredients for a shooting star" into the atmosphere using a small satellite device.
In addition, we know that fireworks are very important in Japan and for this occasion, the city plans to create its own controlled meteor shower.

Tokyo 2020 torch

But curiosities continue. Inside the Olympic village, humanoid robots will be available to provide information on nearby accommodation and attractions. However, Japan is not satisfied yet and wants to do things big. In fact, a technology that will allow holographic updates of events inside the stadium is also being developed.

Tokyo 2020 transportation

In terms of transport, Tokyo is known to be one of the most advanced and connected cities in the world. For these 2020 Olympics there will be special measures in place. In fact, to go to your hotel, you can use only one magnetic card for trains, hotel room and taxi without a driver. That's right, a driverless taxi whose road tests are already underway in Tokyo.

But the news regarding transportation in Tokyo 2020 does not end here. In fact, the city will once again introduce the fastest train in the world. Although it will not operate until 2027, Maglev will make its debut at the Tokyo Olympics. This train has broken all ground speed records and is capable of reaching speeds of around 600 km/h.
These futuristic trains operate thanks to the principle of magnetic levitation, allowing the trains to remain suspended on the tracks. It is the absence of friction that allows trains to reach these speeds, while continuing to comply with strict Japanese safety standards. In short, a taste of that science fiction future that until now we have only seen in movies.

Shinkansen N700s Supreme

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics the new Shinkansen N700S series, also called Shinkansen Supreme, will debut.
Completely redesigned in a more intelligent and silent mode, this train will operate on the Tokaido Shinkansen line. Being 11 tons lighter than the previous generation, it will consume less energy and will run between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations.

Shinkansen N700s supreme Tokyo 2020

The new station of the Yamanote line

In honor of this event, the Yamanote line will also inaugurate a new station: Takanawa Gateway Station. Located between Shinagawa and Tamachi stations, the new one will offer access to Haneda Airport Monorail and the JR Keihin-Tohoku line. Designed in the eki naka style, the Takagawa Gateway station will rise on 4 floors with a public area that will host a great shield for watching the 2020 Olympic Games.

Tokyo 2020 Takagawa Gateway

We are very much looking forward to these Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and you?

Sources: olympic.org, mainichi.jpkyodonews.nettimelapsetokyo.com, japan-forward.com


Akira Isogawa: Japanese Australian legend

Japan is famous and attractive not only to Italy’s eyes but also worldwide and Akira Isogawa’s work is an example. With the opening of Japan to the world, Japanese people have travelled and moved to different countries. Akira Isogawa is now Australia’s most famous Japanese resident.

Akira Isogawa Akira Isogawa

Who is Akira Isogawa

Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1964, he emigrated to Australia in 1986 and he is now one of the most famous Fashion Designer in the land down under. He studied fashion at the East Sydney Technical College drawing inspiration from contemporary Japanese design. By the late 1990s, he was known internationally together with his womenswear label Akira. His clothes appear under his own label and are sold in Australia and New Zealand, and 10 other countries. As of now, he is one of the few Australian designers to exhibit and sell his clothing in Paris.

Akira Isogawa

The Australian Legend

In 2005, caught by surprise, he became an “Australian Legend” and he was invited to appear on a commemorative postage stamp. This honor is just one of the many awards received by Isogawa for his achievements in over 25 years of career

He told The Japan times “To be honest, I had no idea that Australia Post was so progressive and innovative in their marketing,” he says, laughing. “I thought you had to be dead to appear on a postage stamp, let alone working actively in your field. I still have so much yet to do!”

Akira Isogawa Akira Isogawa

Life in Australia

Australia and its fashion scene have embraced Akira Isogawa as one of their own. He feels very closed to his adoptive home, also thanks to a maternal cousin living in the New South Wales town of Mittagong.
The government launched a Working Holiday visa program that gave Isogawa the chance to realize his ambitions of studying and working in fashion.

Arrived in Australia in the mid-80s and having some difficulties in the first weeks of his stay, things got better after the city’s groundbreaking RAT (Recreational Arts Team) dance parties were born. Here Isogawa could connect with like-minded people and let his talent flourish.
After enrolling in a fashion course at the East Sydney Technical College, he opened his first shop using all his savings.

“Sydney is my base,” Isogawa says. “Growing up in Kyoto, I always felt as if I belonged elsewhere. I don’t think I can behave ‘typically’ Japanese and follow societal rules. I understand how such rules are necessary and help Japan to function as efficiently as it does. But I’m a rule breaker, and that’s permitted here in Australia. It’s a real relief.”

However, everyone always misses the homeland. Akira Isogawa too admits a nostalgic longing for the tranquil Kyoto of his childhood. He refers to the Japanese art of “reading the air,” where things are understood, but not necessarily said.

 Akira

The 1990s

However, it’s in the 90s that Isogawa’s work and his label Akira exploded and was known all over the world. After his debut show during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia in 1996, this now became a regular outlet for his work, but not only. In fact, these runways were just the beginning and he landed a spot in Paris fashion shows. Here he caught Joan Burstein’s eye, the international fashion buyer who helped launch names such as Alexander McQueen and John Galliano in the U.K.

Another pivotal moment was Naomi Campbell wearing Akira’s kimono-inspired dress on the cover of Vogue Australia in 1997.

“That cover was a turning point in my career; it can’t be understated. It was amazing,” reminisces Isogawa. “I’m also very grateful to the media, everyone who supported me. But at the same time, it was so stressful. I couldn’t handle everything and ended up with a receptionist, among 25 other full-time staff.”

Akira Isogawa

After the Fashion Madness

In 2004, he met with CEO of Australian Wool Innovation and Isogawa became the ambassador for Australian Wool. The institute was looking for a designer who could update wool’s image so in 2005, Akira Isogawa created a new kind of fabric. A featherweight, fine wool gauze inspired by silk georgette.

“I wanted (the textile) to be light. I wanted wool to be reinterpreted as transeasonal,” he says. “The wool gauze is quite fragile, beautifully soft and 100 percent Australian merino. I still have it in stock.”

Akira Isogawa Today

Now that life is a little bit calmer, Isogawa is free to explore new visions and different outlets for his work. In fact, we can see him collaborating on artistic projects, such as costume design for the Sydney Dance Company.

The Akira womenswear brand is famous for mixing elements of East and West in both terms of textiles, techniques and design. The freedom afforded to Akira’s work and life as an Australian immigrant helped him develop his own personal style.
As a firm believer in slow and sustainable fashion, Akira Isogawa’s garments transcend time, oblivious to trends, and they are to be worn again and again.

Source: japantimes.co.jp
Photos: japantimes.co.jp


2019 Kanji of the year: 令

2020 is finally here and like every year, Japan has elected the “Kanji of the year” and for 2019 the choice was very logical.

Kanji of the year

December and January always force us to do some retrospectives on the year that just passed and the choice for Kanji of the year is not less worthy.
Administered by the Kyoto-based Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, a single Japanese character is chosen by open ballot. The final choice is meant to embody a deep significance for the year as it comes to a close.

This yearly tradition is announced by Seihan Mori, the head abbot of Kyoto’s historical Kiyomizudera Temple. This is not a normal announcement, in fact, the head abbot writes the kanji with a giant calligraphy brush while standing on the temple’s balcony.

This time, 216,325 votes were cast, and the winner kanji of the year is 令 pronounced rei.

Kanji of the year

Rei means “order” (in the sense of orderly control), however, in some contexts it can also mean “beautiful”. This kanji has become famous during 2019 not just as the winner choice, but also when Reiwa, Japan’s new imperial era, was announced. The Japanese government clarified that the meaning of this new era is “beautiful harmony”

令/rei received 30,427, roughly 14% of the total votes. Considering that the Japanese language has more than 2100 regular-use kanji, this is still a very important result for any single character. Second-place was occupied by 新/shin, meaning “new,” and third-place 和/wa, which means “harmony” and is the second kanji in Reiwa.

2019 was a very important year for Japan since it marked the change in the imperial era since 1989. The selection of 令/rei isn’t much of a surprise. However, it reflects a happier mindset than the Kanji of the Year in 2018 (“disaster”), 2017 (“north,” in reference to North Korean missile launches) and 2014 (“tax,” the result of an unpopular sales tax increase that year).

Hopefully, 令和/rei will be not just a reminder of the significant changes of 2019, but also a ray of hope that more beautiful things are coming in 2020.

And with this, we want to wish a Happy New Year to all our readers, your families and loved ones. 明けましておめでとうございます。

Sources: ©SoraNews24
Images ©SoraNews24, japon-secreto.com