I recently read that every year in Japan, a single kanji character is chosen by a national vote. On December 12, the head monk at Kyoto’s famous Kiyomizu Temple announces the winner, which is meant to represent situations and events (both domestic and global) that took place that year.
The kanji character chosen for 2013 is 輪, pronounced rin or wa in Japanese, and means “ring” or “circle.” The main reason it was chosen was because of Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, which is also referred to as 五輪, or “five rings” in Japanese. The successful registration of Mount Fuji as a World Heritage Site as well as Japan’s entrance into the World Cup also contributed to the kanji selection because they were events in which “all of the people throughout Japan came together in a circle of great joy.”
Very interesting, don’t you think?