Japan’s year of love

The Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation has announced Japan’s kanji of the year.

This is used for “love.”

With 4,109 of the total of 85,322 votes, 爱 beat out the character in second place, ? (reform), by nearly two to one.

I’ve always particularly enjoyed the first part of the etymology of this character:

The top was once ? ‘belch’, for obscure reasons; it has become ? (zhǎo) ‘hand’ plus ? () ‘cover’. Below are ? (xīn) ‘heart’ and ? (zhǐ) ‘walk slowly’ (a foot pointing down).

(Please remember not to confuse the etymology of a Chinese character with the etymology of the word its used to represent; they’re not the same thing.)

Some opponents of simplified characters are particularly annoyed that the simplified form of this character, ?, omits the “heart” element and inserts “friend” (? / yǒu) as the base. But as far as I know, no one has objected lately to the removal of “belch.”

traditional vs. simplified:

愛 爱

source: ????????????????????, December 13, 2005.

5 thoughts on “Japan’s year of love

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