In Japan, every end of the year the Buzzwords of the Year are selected and announced by Jiyu Kokuminsha, a publisher that releases an encyclopedia featuring buzzwords. New words, phrases, and those that spread widely during the year that well represent the social conditions are nominated by readers of the encyclopedia and the top ten are chosen by the committee.
The following is the list of the Buzzwords of the Year 2010:
ゲゲゲの ("GeGeGe no")
A TV drama “GeGeGe no Nyobo” was a big hit in 2010. It was progressively viewed by more people as the story developed. It was based on the autobiography by the wife of a manga artist known for GeGeGe no Kitaro series. The couple was poor till they gained huge success with the series, in which a ghost called Kitaro saves the world from evil spirits. Children of multiple generations have watched the animated story of the manga.
Top 2-10 (in random order)
いい質問ですねぇ ("That's a good question...")
A catch phrase from popular journalist, Akira Ikegami, who explains hot topics in simple terms to celebrities asking questions. He makes news programs interesting and understandable for everyone.
イクメン ("Ikumen"): A new popular word for a man who takes care of children.
It was just until recently when Japanese men have become involved in raising their children. The word came from “Ike-men” meaning “handsome guy” and “Iku-ji” meaning “raising children”. The new word implies that a man taking care of their own kids are considered cool. The government sets a goal that 10% of men with children will take a child-care leave by 2017.
AKB48: 48-member all-girl idol group.
"AKB” derives from Akihabara, the name of an area in Tokyo. It is the center for people who have a strong interest in the fantasy world such as animation, idols, and game. The idol group has its own theater in the district, performing in it almost every day. Before they release a song, their fans vote and decide on which members will be singing in the song. The idols of this new type of group have successfully gained popularity among boys.
女子会 ("Jyoshikai") Girls night out
Japanese girls like to go out to drink and socialize similar to American girls going out in groups together. But the concept of “girls night out” was newly termed “joshikai” by some bar chains, offering special cocktails, all-you-can eat and drink menus, etc. Now more and more Japanese girls enjoy their time like Carrie and her girlfriends in Sex and the City.
脱小沢 ("Datsu Ozawa"): to be free from politician Ichiro Ozawa's strong influence.
Ichiro Ozawa was a former president of the Democratic Party of Japan, and in which having a strong influence over many other politicians. He, however, resigned over a finance scandal in May 2009. As the present prime minister, Kan, appointed the new cabinet members, he chose those who had less connection with Ozawa. He wanted to show the public that the party is no longer under his control.
食べるラー油 ("Taberu rayu"): Munchable chili oil.
Rayu is a red chili oil, which can be found on a ramen shop table. It is generally added to the gyoza sauce-- just a tad of it-- and it was not used much for other purposes. In 2010, a new type of chili oil was widely spread and was soon out of stock at grocery stores all over Japan. The new rayu has more flavors to it. The oil can be added to rice, tofu, cucumber, and anything else that your imagination takes off.
A comedian's catchphrase meaning “I’ve come up with an idea.”The comedian, Nezucchi, is known for his extraordinary talent in wordplay. He improvises wordplay with any topic given within a few seconds. He says “Totonoimashita” when he is ready to play on words. It's believed that comedians who gain popularity too soon will disappear from TV programs next year, because their routines are watched too often and it would get tiresome. Nezucchi’s performance is, however, based on his exceptional talent. We hope he will break the jinx.
〜なう ("...nau") "Now": A word especially used in Twitter.
Traditionally, a derived word like this is written in katakana like “ナウ.” Somehow if written in hiragana, the word has a unique feel to it, and it is used differently. It is added to a noun or phrase like "コーヒーショップなう. (Coffee shop now. -- Now I’m at a coffee shop.)" and “宿題なう (Homework now. -- Now I’m doing my homework.)” It's very convenient to tell what they are doing in short phrases.
無縁社会 ("Muen Syakai"): "Public without family relations."
The word refers to the scandal in which many Japanese individuals over 100 years old turned out to have died long ago and nobody had known. Some of their families even hid their parents’ death to keep receiving their pension, leaving their bodies mummified. This year, there were also many other scandals that children were abused and neglected to die. Especially the news that two children were left alone in an apartment and starved to death shocked the society.
何か持っていると言われ続けてきました。今日何を持っているのか確信しました。それは仲間です。"People say that I have something. Today, I realized what I have. That is my friends."
Yuki Saito, a rookie of Nippon Ham Fighters from this spring, said this in an interview. He first got into the limelight when he topped the high school baseball tournament in 2006 as a pitcher. The final game was tied and replayed the next day to amuse the audience all over the nation. Not only was he an exceptional athlete, but his handsome looks, modesty, politeness and the way he wiped perspiration with a blue handkerchief made him a star. He also gained the nickname the “Handkerchief Prince”. The nickname was nominated for the buzzword award 2006. As a college baseball player, he led his team to the top six-college league in 2010. People look forward to seeing him as a professional baseball player soon.
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