“Nadeshiko” is Japan’s Top Buzzword in 2011

January 10, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. conquer (v.) 
[kong-ker] – to be victorious; to win
Example: The basketball team conquered the international league because of  its players’ perseverance during practices.

2. massive (adj.) [mas-iv] – great; large in terms of intensity or degree
Example: There was a massive blackout in the three nearby cities.

3. inflict (v.)  [in-flikt] – to cause pain or damage
Example:   Doctors inflict pain in order to cure diseases.

4. nickname (n.) [nik-neym] – a name that is different from your real name but is what your family, friends, etc., call you when they are talking to you or about you
Example:  French soccer player Franck Ribéry earned his nickname Scarface because of a noticeable scar on his left face.   

5. humble (adj.) [huhm-buhl] –not to think of yourself as better than other people
Example: A humble person accepts corrections when he is wrong.

Read the text below.

“Nadeshiko Japan”, the nickname of the women’s national soccer team, was awarded by U-Can, Inc. as the top buzzword of 2011 for the yearly U-can Shingo Ryukogo Taisho prizes.

The national soccer team became famous when they conquered the World Cup in Germany last July.  They were the first Japanese soccer team to be awarded as champions by FIFA. Their triumph gave the country hope  amid struggles from the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Because of its massive media coverage, only Nadeshiko was ranked as No. 1, while the other words on the top 10 list were not ranked.

Five out of the nine buzzwords that followed Nadeshiko  on the list were related to the March 11 disaster. Included in the list was the date “3.11”, and the word kizuna or “human bonds”, which became popular as people united to help the victims of the disaster.  Kitaku nanmin, meaning “refugees who cannot return home”, also made it on the list.

Kodama de shouka?” or “Is that just an echo?” became famous when it was used repeatedly in a public service commercial by the Advertising Council of Japan after the calamity. The ad, created to emphasize the need to help the victims of such disaster, used the phrase to send the message that people pass on to others the kindness shown to them.

U-Can, an education and career support company,  also selected  “fuhyohigai”, which pertains to the financial damage experienced by farmers and fishermen due to fear inflicted by the nuclear power plant crisis.

Other words included were suma-ho, short for smartphones, and dojo naikaku, the nickname given to the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. The nickname compares the cabinet to an ugly and humble kind of fish.

A term often used by Kansai comedians, “Doya-gao”, was also counted in. Completing the list was comedian Tanoshingo’s “rabu chunyu”, a meaningless phrase he always uses while forming a heart-shape with his hands.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What factors do you think influence the selection of top buzzwords?
·         Can you think of other famous words or phrases that can possibly be included in the list?

Discussion B

·         Do you think people benefit from knowing the top buzzwords of the year? Why or why not?
·         What do you think the list of buzzwords reveals about your country’s culture?

January 10, 2012