The year has been tough for Japan as it has been on the receiving end when it came to natural disasters. The country has chosen the symbol with the meaning ‘disaster’ to define the year 2018. TV stations broadcast the announcement live as the master of an ancient temple in Kyoto wrote the winning term on a white panel.

At the annual vote, the public nominated the Kanji character after it experienced a number of natural disasters. Japan in 2018 has faced typhoons, flooding, earthquakes and even heatwave which ultimately led to a shrink in the economy. The economy fell by 1.2 percent during the third quarter due to all the damage that was caused by the events.

While talking about the disaster, the flood water had swept across the country in July and killed more than 200 people and caused the evacuation of about nine million across 23 prefectures. It was the worst floods in years. In the same month about 65 people died due to heatwave and also led to hospitalization of about 22,000 people. Then came the typhoon Jebi that lashed western Japan with winds of up to 172km/h. It was the strongest typhoon that had hit the country in 25 years.

The northern island of Hokkaido was hit with an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 and had triggered landslides. The competition has been run by the Kyoto based Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation since 1995. The ear 2018’s symbol was pronounced like the English word ‘sigh’ that was chosen by just fewer than 21,000 people. The Kanji symbol of peace was in the second position. The symbol of North won in 2017 after the missile launches by North Korea and gold in 2016 after the Rio Olympics. The Chinese characters are also known as Kanji and are widely used in Japanese and also in other alphabets.

Photo Credits: Nippon