Tuesday, December 14, 2004

今年の漢字 - A different sort of character expo. 

Any attempt to engineer in the tabula rasa that is the 21st century Japanese psyche an overarching cosmological theory even remotely analogous to what Presocratics like Parmendies had in mind when he wrestled such concepts as his 'Way of Truth' and his 'Way of Seeming' away from the gaping, prehistoric maw of 'mythos' would doubtless smack of a wanton philosophical retrofitting. Such follies will be forgone here. Conversely, to blindly insist that Japanese culture is totally devoid of its own kind of functional metaphysics would prove an even more grandiose study in spuriousness. The supergravitational pull of an oriental 'deus ex machina' does indeed exert a sure and steady pull...even on the gossamer-like flutterings of the denizen of that chimerical, sugar-coated superflatness known as Tokyo.

Monday morning in Kyoto, during a ceremony to which declared the Japanese kanji best symbolizing 2004, the seventh and final stroke of the awe-inspiring calligraphy which poured forth from the gargantuan brush of Seihan Mori, chief priest of Kiyomizu Temple, completed the ideogram 'wazawai' (disaster). This ominous kanji garnered 20,900 out of 92,000 votes in the Kanji of the Year contest organized by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, indicating disasters like the Niigata earthquakes of late October, the controversial SDF deployment in Iraq earlier this year, and the widespread flooding in Japan. The other kanji rounding out the top five or this karmic basso continuo chosen by popular vote were: 2) 「韓」 (the 'Hanryu' cultural boom from Korea), 3) 「震」 (the nationwide earthquakes), 4) 「金」 (the ongoing financial woes), 5) 「新」 (note: various interpretations are possible here). Curiously enough, no direct mention was made of the pleasures of corporeal indulgence...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?