"Zei" - Kanji of the Year 2023 Reflects Japan's Taxation Focus

Dec 13, 2023 - 17:11
Feb 16, 2024 - 11:05
"Zei" - Kanji of the Year 2023 Reflects Japan's Taxation Focus

The kanji character "" (Zei), meaning "tax," has been chosen to symbolize the societal landscape in Japan for the year 2023. This decision comes amid initiatives by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government, including proposals to reduce taxes to assist households grappling with high inflation. Additionally, a new invoicing system is set to alleviate the tax burden on freelancers and entrepreneurs.

The selection was made through the 29th annual kanji competency assessment organized by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, with public participation in the voting process. The chosen kanji was elegantly written using a giant calligraphy brush on a special Japanese paper, measuring approximately 1.5 meters in height and 1.3 meters in width, by Buddhist monk Seihan Mori from the renowned Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto.

Monk Mori expressed, "I feel that the Japanese people are closely monitoring tax policy developments."

This marks the second time this kanji has been chosen since 2014. The runner-up kanji is "" (sho), meaning "heat," reflecting the record-breaking heatwaves experienced in Japan earlier in the year. The kanji "" (sen), meaning "war," secured the third position against the backdrop of conflicts in Gaza and the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine. Last year, "戦" was the top choice amidst Moscow's conflict and Eastern European tensions, along with the fiery competitions of the FIFA World Cup hosted in Qatar.

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