municipal government

Kanji quiz time! Can you identify the characters behind Japan’s creative municipal flags?

Japan’s national flag may be well-known for its simplicity—after all it’s just a big red circle in the middle of a field of white—but did you know that’s not Japan’s only flag? Every single prefecture, city, town and village has its own special flag to represent its history or what it’s famous for.

Even more commonly, many of the municipalities’ flags have stylized versions of the kanji found in their names. And when we say stylized, we mean highly stylized. We have here a selection of some of Japan’s kanji-flags, so you can see the creativity that went into each of them.

If you think you’re a kanji master, then get ready to test your skills and see how many you can guess correctly!

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Tokyo enlists civilian “water monitors” to prove its water is delicious

Even though tap water in Tokyo is perfectly safe to drink, and in most cases indistinguishable from bottled water, the metropolitan government is concerned about the bad rap it gets from citizens who will not give it a try. In October, the Bureau of Waterworks, charged with providing clean and tasty water for Japan’s largest metropolitan area, wrapped up a 25-year-long project to connect the majority of Tokyo residents to great-tasting and specially treated water from the Tone River system.

According to an NHK article, the government agency wants to get the word out that their water is just as good as any store-bought bottled water and has asked 700 private citizens all over Tokyo to become “water monitors” and test their home’s tap water for minerals and judge its quality.

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