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Kanji meaning north picked to symbolize 2017 amid N. Korea threat

Kiyomizu Temple chief abbot Seihan Mori adds the finishing touches to his calligraphic representation of the Chinese character for "north" at the temple in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward on Dec. 12, 2017. (Mainichi)

KYOTO (Kyodo) -- The kanji "kita" meaning north has been selected as the Chinese character best describing this year's social atmosphere in Japan, amid heightened nuclear and missile threats posed by North Korea, a Kyoto-based kanji promotion organization said Tuesday.

Chief Buddhist priest Seihan Mori of the Kiyomizu Temple wrote the character 1.5 meters in length and 1.3 meters in width with a giant calligraphy brush on "washi," or Japanese paper, in the annual year-end event at the famous temple in Kyoto where the kanji of the year was announced.

North Korea continued to demonstrate its intention to pursue nuclear and missile development programs this year, conducting its sixth nuclear test and launching many ballistic missiles, including some that flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan.

Last year, the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation picked the kanji "kin" meaning gold or money after Japan won 12 gold medals at the Rio Olympics and former Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe resigned over a political funds scandal.

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