December 12th is the day of kanji Chinese character in Japan and every year on this day, the kanji of the year is relieased at Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto.
People vote one kanji character which reflects the year most exactly and the largest votes' kanji is designated as the kanji of the year. Each character reflects the social situation.
Today, "絆 kizuna," was written on a large piece of paper by the head priest of Kiyomizu Temple. "絆” means "bond" in Japanese. We feel again the strong ties between our family, friends and community during the Great East Japan Earthquake in March and other disasters happened domestic and abroad. People have felt the importance of human ties more and more.
The second is "災 sai" (disaster) and the third "震 shin" (quake). We know how strongly the quake have affected people in Japan.