"Inochi", meaning life, has been chosen as the character of the year in Japan.
"Inochi," meaning "life," has been chosen in a poll for the kanji character of 2006, the year marked by the birth of the first grandson for the emperor, a series of reported student suicides after being bullied, and a number ofchild abuses, the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation announced Tuesday.
The Kyoto-based foundation said many people in the public poll said they selected the character because it was a year they were made painfully aware of the gravity and value of the unique gift of life given to an individual.
The annual announcement was made at Kiyomizu Temple in the Japanese ancient capital.
The foundation has been conducting a poll on the year's kanji --Chinese characters used in Japanese writing -- each year since 1995.
Prince Hisahito was born in Tokyo on Sept. 6 to Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko and the firstheirto the Japanese imperial throne born in 41 years.
A total of 92,509 entries were made this year with 8,363 for "inochi," also read "myo" and "mei," followed by 3,793 for "yu," read also "hisa" as used in the first of the two kanji of the newborn prince's name. The third-ranked character, drawing 3,303 votes, was "sei," read also "sei," "ikiru," also denoting life, or to live.
The character meaning to kill, read "satsu," "korosu" ranked sixth and one denoting death, read "shi" came in 12th.
Last year's top choice was "ai," meaning love.