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“Kin,” or gold, picked as kanji of 2021

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kiyomizudera temple chief monk Seihan Mori writes the kanji “kin” in calligraphy at the temple in Kyoto on Monday.

KYOTO (Jiji Press) — “Kin,” meaning gold, was selected as the kanji character of the year in Japan on Monday after the country won dozens of gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

Kin received 10,422 of the 223,773 votes cast by people across the country in a poll conducted by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, based in Kyoto.

In announcing the outcomes of the 27th kanji of the year poll, Kiyomizudera temple chief monk Seihan Mori wrote the kanji for kin in calligraphy in an annual event at the temple in Kyoto, which is also a major tourist spot.

In the Tokyo Games, Japanese athletes earned the gold medals “under extraordinary and difficult circumstances that were different” from those for past Olympics and Paralympics, Mori said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think that the result came as the athletes did their best while most matches in the Games were held without live spectators and interaction between athletes was limited [due to the COVID-19 pandemic],” he said. Japan won 27 gold medals in the Olympics, a record high for the country, and 13 golds in the Paralympics.

The selection of the kanji for kin also reflected many “kinjito,” or milestones, achieved by Japanese nationals in 2021, including the unanimous winning of the American League MVP award by major league baseball two-way star Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. The kanji for kin is used for one of the three kanji characters comprising the word kinjito.