Every year, Japanese citizens vote for a Chinese character (or kanji) to describe the events of the year and display it at the temple above.
This year’s character?
Safe. Secure. Stable.
When asked about the choice of character, many Japanese were quick to turn it into a negative.
“I think of 不安 (restless, worried),” said one woman. “With the state the world is in, everything feels so uncertain.”
Others said the decision of the character 安 was a result of the recently passed security law (or the 安全保障法制), which has allowed Japan to actively participate in wars as a military power, much to the chagrin of the Japanese nationals.