"Sai," Meaning Disaster, Picked as Kanji for Heisei Era


Tokyo, March 28 (Jiji Press)--"Sai," meaning disaster or harm, topped the list of kanji characters representing Japan's Heisei era in a survey conducted by Sumitomo Life Insurance Co.

The result apparently reflected Japanese people's clear memories of a host of difficulties during the era, including the March 1995 sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subway system by the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, which killed 13 people and injured more than 6,400 others, and the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which have left more than 18,000 people dead or unaccounted for.

According to the survey, 21 pct of respondents picked sai.

"Hen," meaning change, came second, picked by 7.1 pct. Many who chose the character said people's lives have changed dramatically during the Heisei era, citing the spread of mobile phones, the advancement of information technologies and the introduction of the consumption tax.

"Ran," for disorder or confusion, ranked third, with 6.9 pct of respondents selecting it. The burst of Japan's bubble economy in the early 1990s and the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, which triggered a global financial crisis, were among major events and developments cited for the choice of the character.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press