2016 Word Of The Year

The Hiroshima Carp may not have won the Japan Series this year, but a word used to describe the team’s form on its way to its first Central League championship in 25 years has been chosen as Japan’s “Word of the year”.

Towards the end each year, publisher Jiyu-kokumin-sha announces a list of buzzwords and phrases that sum up what’s been in the news and making waves in pop culture.
The winning word this year is Kamitteiru [神ってる] which turns the Japanese word for “god” [神 ::kami] into a present progressive verb. Nippon.com offers “godding” as a possible translation, while The Mainichi goes with the less literal, “being godlike” or “superhuman”. Carp manager Koichi Ogata used the word after Seiya Suzuki hit sayonara home runs in two consecutive games against the Orix Buffaloes back in June. It caught on and came to sum up the long-awaited season of success.

Ogata who confessed he’d picked up the term from his kids, and said that his family didn’t seem to know whether to be proud or baffled when he called to tell them the news today. In June, the 21 year old Suzuki talked about how is teammates used the term for some goodnatured ribbing and said he wished they’d cut it out [ja]. At the awards ceremony in Tokyo today, however, he commented that, although he didn’t come up with it, as the word is so closely associated with such an amazing season, it’s one he’ll never forget.

Other words and phrases that made the top ten were:

  • PPAP (if you need to click, you have obviously been spared so why do it?).
  • マイナス金利 mainasu kinri :: Negative interest rates
  • 聖地巡礼 seichi junrei :: “Pilgrimages” to anime locations
  • 保育園落ちた日本死ね hoikuen ochita Nihon shine
    Viral blog post railing against shortage of daycare facilities. The Japan Times translated it as “My child didn’t get a slot in day care yesterday. Great.” and Nippon.com as “Couldn’t get my kid into nursery school. Japan can go screw itself” which is perhaps closer to the original tone.
  • (僕の)アモーレ (Boku no) amōre :: My love as soccer player Yuto Nagatomo referred to his fiance actress Airi Taira.
  • ポケモンGO :: Pokemon GO Just don’t tell Jade.

and, last but not least

  • トランプ現象 Toranpu-gensho :: Trump phenomenon.