Seihan Mori, chief priest of Kiyomizu Temple, writes "rei" meaning "beautiful" or "order" as the Chinese kanji character of the year in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward on Dec. 12, 2019. Rei, one of two characters making up the new Imperial era name "Reiwa," which took effect on May 1, was selected as the kanji best representing the times by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation. For this year's campaign, the 25th since the inaugural one in 1995, the general public submitted 216,325 entries between Nov. 1 and Dec. 5, and rei topped the voting at 30,427. The calligraphy, painted on large traditional Japanese-style paper measuring 1.5 meters by 1.3 meters, will be on display at the main temple building until Dec. 21, and then at the Japan Kanji Museum & Library in the ward from Dec. 22.
(Japanese original by Kenji Yagura, Kyoto Bureau)