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After a year of taxes and a previous year of rings, “safety” is the word that resonates true in the hearts of Japanese in 2015.

Each year, the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Society conducts a nationwide poll to choose the kanji that best represents the year. Two years ago was the successful bid for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 that caused the public to choose “輪” or “ring” to represent 2013. Last year, the additional expense tax spurred people to choose “税” or “tax” as the kanji of that best encapsulated 2014.

On December 15, the official kanji for 2015 was revealed, as always, at Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. This year, Japanese citizens chose “安” (pronounced ‘an‘ on its own) or “safety” as the kanji that best represented 2015 and it’s easy to understand why. Safety was a real concern for people the world over this year, with terrorist attacks occurring in multiple spots. Japan was not immune to the influences of Islamic terrorist group ISIS either, with two Japanese nationals captured and executed by the militant group earlier in the year.

This year was also characterized by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe forcing through security bills in parliament that expanded the scope of what the Japanese Self-Defense Force could do in cooperation with its allies.

▼ Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with the kanji of 2015, which curiously also appears in his last name…

The high priest at Kiyomizu Temple unveiled the kanji with a beautiful calligraphy of the character at the announcement ceremony.

The runner-up characters this year were “爆” or “explosive” which has been used to describe the influx of Chinese tourists and the extensive amount of shopping they are doing in Japan, and “戦” or “war” to represent the escalation of conflicts around the world in 2015.

What was the world that best described 2015 for you? Let us know in the comments section below.

H/T: The Wall Street Journal
Top Image: Twitter/@JapaninCanada