12/14/2017, 14.29
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'North' is the ideogram of 2017

Pyongyang’s threats and Hokkaido explain the choice. About 150,000 people took part in the poll.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North (kita or hoku in Japanese) is the ideogram of the year in 2017, this according to an annual poll organised by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation. More than 150,000 people took part in the survey.

The announcement was broadcast live on TV from a Buddhist temple in Kyoto with the head priest writing a giant version of the character.

For the foundation, the reason behind the choice lies with the fears elicited by North Korea’s ballistic missile tests. Indeed, the constant threat from Pyongyang explains the result, but it is not the only factor.

Hokkaido, is another reason. Japan’s northernmost island at one point ran out of potato chips due to a potato shortage, and was home to Shohei Ohtani, a successful baseball player.

Kita beat sei (politics, government). The top ten ideograms included kaku, relevant in the context of nuclear issues.

In 2016, kin (gold) was the top contender given the success of Japanese athletes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

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